RMKUSBM - Buying and Visual Merchandising

MODULE CODE:         




Credit Value:             


Module Coordinator:  

Professor Paul Freathy

Contact Hours:         

25 Lectures, 15 Seminars


50% coursework, 50% examination

Module Overview:

The aim of this module is to provide students with an understanding of the integrated nature of the buying and supply chain management processes within retailing. It will begin with understanding the changes to the retail environment and sourcing of products by retail. It progresses to a discussion of, the role of the buyer which has been recognised as pivotal to the achievement of the retailer's corporate objectives, since buying represents the translation of the companies' mission into reality through the selection of an appropriate merchandise assortment.  It is therefore vital that retail graduates have a firm understanding of the inter-relationship that exists between buying and corporate strategy, the issues pertinent to the management of the buying activity, as well as the tasks and activities for which the buyer is responsible.

However, even the very best buyers can be frustrated if their products arrive late or are sent to the wrong stores.  Accordingly, logistics and supply chain management have become key areas of management and this is reflected in its growing status in the boardroom of British companies.  Indeed, retail companies have been at the leading edge of logistics innovation and the sound financial performance of many companies has been partly attributed to good practice.  This module will expose students to the key issues associated with the management of the retail supply chain.

By the end of the module students will be able to:

  • understand the context of buying and merchandising operations as part of a retailer’s overall strategy and the relationship between buying and supply chain strategies and corporate objectives
  • explain the role and key responsibilities of functions involved in the retail buying process, including the retail buyer and product merchandisers
  • identify and evaluate the nature of retail buying structures
  • understand the key financial implications of buying and merchandising
  • assess the issues pertinent to the management of buyer-supplier relations and understand factors influencing successful negotiation
  • understand the relationship between visual merchandising and store design and the buying and merchandising process
  • evaluate the role of the buyer in the development of own-brands and the promotion of the buy
  • explain the importance of stock management in the retail buying process.

Learning Outcomes: 

Retrieval and interpretation of information; integration, evaluation and critical analysis of literature and data from secondary sources; problem solving and critical reasoning; application of concepts to the real world; individual and group work to reinforce knowledge and aid reflection; presentational skills; transferable skills (self-confidence, time management and communication skills).

By completion of the module students should be able to develop:

  1. A critical understanding of business and marketing from both academic and practitioner perspectives
  2. An in-depth and balanced appreciation of the theoretical foundations of marketing alongside current and emerging practitioner applications including marketing decisions, consumer behaviour and market research methods
  3. The ability to understand the development of appropriate marketing strategies within a changing environment to meet various business, marketing and stakeholder demands
  4. An understanding of the impact of environmental forces on organisations including legal, market, ethical, social and technological change issues
  5. An in-depth knowledge of the processes & applications in the production, distribution and marketing of goods and/or services
  6. Further contemporary and pervasive issues such as creativity, collaboration, innovation, responsibility, commercial awareness and entrepreneurship
  7. Transferable intellectual and study skills which will encourage a positive attitude to continuing personal development and lifelong learning



This module information is representative of what is included in the module in a given year. Details of actual reading, lectures and coursework may vary year to year and will be available at the beginning of the semester.

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