Arcadia Group

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Joanna H

0.03 Hi. I’m Jo Hill. I work at Top Man as a merchandiser for Arcadia. I work on the denim department, so I’m booking jeans for Top Man all the way round the world, so we look at all different markets, so each different store would sell different types of jeans better than other stores. We consider trends going forward, so any of the catwalk trends that are flagged to be really big for next season, so, for example, skinny jeans for men have been a really big trend this year. We consider price points, so what the customer will actually pay for the jeans, making sure we’re offering a balanced range – we’re not too expensive in the High Street or too cheap in the High Street – making sure we sit in line with our competitors.

0.52 My mum was a PE teacher. My dad was a marketing manager of a computer company. I did do some work experience at his company. Because it was a computer-based company, it wasn’t very interesting to me, but there were parts of that I actually enjoyed: the meetings and the theory in trying to strategise about marketing and future plans. My mum, as a PE teacher, she knew that I had always been interested in sport. And I did consider being a PE teacher at some point, but because I knew that I’d always incorporate sport into my life I didn’t want sport to be my job and my social life, so I wanted to go down a different path, so I knew that I didn’t want to be a PE teacher.

1.36 I loved school. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I left school. I didn’t even know what degree I wanted to do actually. At school I was really interested in sport, which I still am. And choosing my degree, because I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I looked into different courses, read a bit about what they involved and what I’d be learning about. I spoke to a lot of people. I chose sociology in the end to study, and I chose Cardiff University to go to. That seemed to be quite a fun university, and it had quite a good sports section, and the student’s union was supposed to be one of the best and the most fun.

2.17 At university I probably learnt to deal with different people and simple things like managing your money, managing your food, learning to live with different people when you’ve always lived at home and not had to sort of deal with other people’s mess or food interests, and managing your time, growing up really and learning about yourself, I think. It’s probably the biggest time which you learn about yourself and learn that you’re actually going to have to be out there on your own and have to find your own way.

2.50 After University I still didn’t know in terms of a career what I wanted to do, so I spoke to a retail careers advisor at one of the career’s fairs and spoke about the different types of jobs that were in retail. He gave me some booklets to read, and I read about them and I thought merchandising sounded really interesting. I went to have an interview there, and it went quite well, and then they put me forward for a job at Arcadia. I didn’t know then that it was going to be at Top Man. I went for the interview, got through to the second stage, and then went to the next interview and got the job. I’ve been here for seven years.

3.26 In my spare time I play a lot of sports still. I’ve always played sports since I was younger. I play netball and tennis every week. I ski, and I do quite a lot of running. I’ve run a half marathon and I have done a London to Brighton bike ride.

3.47 I’d eventually like to be a director of a company, of a fashion company like Top Man or maybe a smaller company, but ultimately that’s my goal to be the top person.


Joanna H is a Merchandiser for Top Man. She travels around the world looking at the markets for men’s jeans. Different styles are fashionable in different countries, so she has to take this into account when arranging to buy jeans from manufacturers. “Skinny jeans for men have been a really big trend this year.”

More information about Buyers and procurement officers

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

43%  male 
57%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Buyers and procurement officers organise and undertake the buying of raw materials, equipment and merchandise from manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and other sources for wholesale distribution, resale or for own internal use.
There are no formal academic requirements although some employers expect A levels/H grades, BTEC/SQA awards or degrees. Employers may ask for specific experience for a particular role. Professional qualifications and NVQs/SVQs in Procurement at Levels 2, 3 and 4 are available.
  • Attends trade fairs, shows and demonstrations to research new product lines and suppliers, checks catalogues;
  • Keeps up with market trends and chooses products/services;
  • Assesses budgetary limitations and customer requirements and decides on quantity, type, range and quality of goods or services to be bought;
  • Assesses bids from suppliers, finds suppliers and negotiates prices;
  • Helps negotiate contract with supplier and specifies details of goods or services required;
  • Looks at ways to improve supply networks, presents new ideas to senior management team;
  • Ensures that delivered items comply with order, monitors quality of incoming goods and returns unsatisfactory or faulty items, monitors performance and makes sure targets are met;
  • Supervises clerical, administrative and warehouse distribution staff, deals with recruitment and training;
  • Works closely with merchandisers who allocate stock and develop sales forecasts;
  • Maintains records and prepares reports as necessary.
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