We develop and deliver training programs to enhance the capabilities of retail merchandise teams.  

Having highly motivated merchandise professionals will deliver competitive advantage…

At Numensa our team has years of retailing experience on which to draw, across a range of retail support office roles within a variety of industries, including, fashion, general merchandise, homewares, convenience and supermarket.  

Our programs are designed with adult learners in mind and include a combination of thought-provoking theory and relevant case studies.  We have a range of ‘off-the-peg’ courses, can tailor the content to your company’s needs or develop something truly bespoke.  Below are some of our most popular courses.

Foundations of Buying and Planning

This 2-day Foundations of Buying & Merchandise Planning program covers the theoretical principles used in buying and merchandise planning as well as the key metrics used in a retail business. Focussing on a specific business category for your business, you will learn how a buyer and planner work together to plan, buy and trade a range through the season. The course is very interactive using a combination of theory, video, case studies and exercises to assist the learner’s understanding whilst developing key merchandise management skills.

This course would suit…

Junior members of the merchandise team e.g. assistant buyers or planners, trainee buyers or planners, allocators or buying/merchandise assistants.  It would also suit people who work directly with merchandise teams, e.g. suppliers or marketing teams who wish to gain a greater understanding of merchandise management.



  • The buying cycle
  • The role of the buyer & merchandise planner
  • Challenges facing retailers today
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  • Assortment strategies
  • The merchandise financial plan
  • Understanding the customer
  • Range hierarchy, the merchandise mix and product lifecycle


  • Key financial metrics
  • Analysing sales
  • Planning promotions and the impact of markdown on profits
  • Managing suppliers effectively
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Merchandise Planning Workshops

A series of three half-day merchandise planning workshops designed to give participants global best-practice skills in pre-season planning, effective stock management and assortment planning.

Each workshop covers the theory behind these important merchandise planning methodologies (the what), practical learning exercises (the how), as well as realistic industry based scenarios (the why).  Learners come away fully armed with practical tips and tools that they can immediately use back in their business.


Workshop 1: Pre-Season Planning

Developing a robust merchandise financial plan is the cornerstone of merchandise management. The ability to develop the store sales plan, the stock plan, determine the right product mix by category and manage the open-to-buy (OTB) are the ‘tools of trade’ for the Merchandise Planner. At the end of this workshop, learners will be able to: –

  • Understand the impact that a merchandise plan would have on a business
  • Conduct a post-season analysis, interpret data and set benchmarks
  • Understand the relevant formulas that sit behind the plan in MS Excel
  • Develop a store sales plan by month, week and day
  • Determine the product mix by department/category
  • Develop the stock plan and determine the forward cover
  • Develop a markdown plan
  • Re-forecast and re-plan closer to season
  • Understand the benefits of effective planning


Workshop 2: Effective Stock Management

Having the right stock, in the right place, at the right time, is fundamental retail 101. Managing stock through the business requires constant monitoring.  At the end of this workshop, learners will be able to: –

  • Understand why stock management is important and how it impacts on profit
  • Understand the science behind ratio planning and the impact on out of stocks and overstocks
  • Understand the various methods of allocation and the advantages and disadvantages of each
  • Determine the sell-thru objectives and how this relates to unit planning
  • Understand an effective replenishment strategy
  • Understand how to trade the business when in season to maximise profitability


Workshop 3: Assortment Planning

A sound range assortment is key to the success of any Retailer and knowing how to structure the range to get the optimal balance between width and depth is an art as well as science.  At the end of this workshop, learners will be able to:

  • Analyse previous range assortment history and make projections based on latest trend and market information
  • Understand the different methods in determining the ideal option quantity
  • Calculate options and have the ability to select the optimum number of options for a particular business
  • Understand how to find the optimal balance between width verses depth
  • Understand how to create a basic framework by product type or classification

This Program Would Suit

Workshops 1 and 2 are ideally suited to those working in merchandise planning as junior planners, assistant/trainee planners or allocators or for planners or small business owners where the merchandise planning function is not as advanced. Workshop 3 would also be ideal for those working in buying as junior buyers, assistant/trainee buyers or for small business   owners.

For more junior team members, it is recommended that participants have already undertaken the Numensa Foundations of  Buying & Merchandise Planning prior to this course.

This course uses excel and therefore a good knowledge of excel is required.

Program Format 

Workshops can be taken as a standalone, or as a series of three, each building on the other. Each workshop lasts 3-4 hours and is delivered in a classroom style. The workshops combine theory, case studies, video and practical exercises. Participants also come away with spreadsheets and tools (USB).

As this is a fairly intensive workshop, the group size is limited to 6-8 people.

Retail Financials

This 1-day course is designed to equip today’s young retail professional with core retail maths skills.

With the advent of spreadsheets, pre-populated formulas and our reliance on computers many younger members of the merchandise team are unfamiliar with manually calculating key retail metrics.  This course not only shows you how to perform those calculations, but also explains why these metrics are used in retail.

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  • Financial Terms and principles
  • Calculating margin, mark-up and cost price
  • Pre-season planning
  • The merchandise financial plan
  • Calculating the Open-to-Buy
  • Analysing sales
  • Stockturn & GMROI
  • Markdown & promotional analysis
  • Pricing strategies and inventory control

Negotiation Skills

The Numensa Negotiation Skills for Buyers and Merchandise Planners is specifically designed to enhance the capabilities of retail merchandise teams.  This course will equip you with the relevant knowledge and skills enabling you to be a stronger negotiator.  Using a combination of theory, case studies, as well as buyer/supplier role play simulations, this course will build your confidence and help you to develop your own negotiating style.


Negotiation Skills compilation

During day one we learn about the steps in negotiation, work on planning for a negotiation as well as developing a supplier strategy.  We look at why negotiations are not successful and understand our own negotiating style.

  • The theory of effective negotiation
  • Developing strategies for supplier negotiations
  • Why negotiations go wrong and how to avoid the pitfalls
  • Understanding your own negotiating style

In day two you will look at the differences between distributive and integrative negotiations as well as the implications of negotiating across cultures, before getting into our role play simulation where you will be able to practice your new found skills.

  • Expanding the fixed pie
  • The impact of culture on negotiations
  • Negotiation role play

Strategic Buying

Strategic Buying


The global retail market has undergone a seismic shift. With an onslaught of pure-play as well as multi-channel online competition and the global expansion of retail behemoths, domestic retailers need highly skilled, strategically competent teams who can not only withstand the offensive, but are capable of delivering real competitive advantage to the business.

At the end of this program, participants will have the ability to identify and develop new strategic opportunities, have a greater understanding of global retail trends around the Omni-channel, sustainable as well as experiential retailing, and be able to effectuate a strategic consumer centric plan.

Introduction to Strategic Thinking

  • Developing your strategic thinking capabilities
  • Retail Brand challenge

Sustainable Business

  • Going ‘Green’ – The development of a sustainable business
  • The Sustainable Consumer
  • Sustainable Business Trends

Changing Retail Environment & Emerging Consumer Trends

  • Key Retail Trends to 2025
  • Best Global Retail Brands
  • Omni-channel retailing
  • Consumer Trends & Behaviour
  • What is important to the 21st Century Consumer
  • Consumer Engagement, Customisation & Collaboration

Buying Strategically

  • Defining your target customer
  • Customer Centric Retailing
  • Product Role in the Marketing Mix
  • Retail Brand Positioning – The New Brand Strategy
  • Developing the Departmental Strategy

Category Management

  • The Category Management Process
  • Latest Thinking on the CM Process
  • What would CM mean to your business?


This course would suit…

Those people with at least 5 years experience in buying or merchandise planning, or someone working in a marketing or supply chain function that wishes to develop their strategic retailing capabilities.

Retail Challenge Series

Challenge Series Graphic

Numensa has teamed up with the UK’s leading retail training provider and has the exclusive licence to deliver their highly acclaimed Retail Challenge Series…

Designed to sharpen the skills of retail merchandise teams and focussing on increasing sales and profits, the Retail Challenge Series uses a team-based, interactive approach. The three separate challenges each focus on a different aspect of the merchandise team’s role. The 2-day Range Building Challenge is a fast-paced, competitive experience that encourages collaboration and cross-functional working as teams strive to create product ranges that meet customer expectations, exceed business goals and deliver profit. The 1-day Profit Challenge focuses on activities designed to improve profit-related decision-making in a pressurised retail environment. The 1-day Trading Challenge puts the team through a series of life-like trading scenarios designed to show the team how to optimise in-season performance.

With over 100 retail clients across Europe and South Africa, First Friday was eager to find a suitable business partner here in Australia. “We wanted to partner with a company that not only had a strong retail heritage, but were a good cultural fit and Numensa more than fulfilled that role,” said Robin Turner, Managing Director of First Friday in the UK.  First Friday certainly has substantial retail credentials themselves, whose clients include John Lewis, Arcadia, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Woolworths South Africa, Harrods, ASOS, B&Q, Shop Direct and Sainsbury’s.

Bite Sized Learning

In these days of increasing business pressures and fewer pairs of hands on deck.  Training and developing the merchandise team needs to be balanced with operational efficiencies.  Sometimes it is not just possible to take a whole team ‘off the floor’ for a day or two days at a time.

Our solution, bite-sized or chunk learning.  We’ve broken down our courses into a series of 2-hour long workshops, where the learner gets to concentrate on developing their skills in a particular area.  Bite sized courses include: –

  • Basic retail maths
  • The merchandise financial plan
  • Managing the open-to-buy
  • Assortment planning
  • Negotiation

To improve your teams' capabilities...

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Numensa Pty Ltd

68-72 York St

South Melbourne

VIC 3205

+61 3 9694 4455