Retail Merchandising Manager

Central London, England

Job Description :

Last April, Diageo announced a £150 million investment program to transform our Scotch whisky visitor experiences in the biggest concerted programme ever seen in Scotland's whisky tourism sector. As the centre-piece of the investment and the future global brand flagship for Johnnie Walker, the visitor experience in central Edinburgh will bring to life the story of the brand and its makers and create a unique welcome for millions of whisky fans around the world.

The Johnnie Walker visitor experience in Edinburgh and "4 Corners" distillery transformations will also be a global focal point as Diageo build towards the 200th Anniversary of Johnnie Walker in 2020. This major high-street investment project - with its plan to create world-leading, authentic and cultural visitor experiences - will attract new audiences and help diversify Edinburgh's tourism landscape, bringing vibrant new activity and footfall to the west end of Princes Street.

Additionally, Johnnie Walker opened its first retail flagship store in Madrid in November 2018. The store has become a leading shopping destination for fans of Johnnie Walker and is introducing more people to our brand through a variety of experiences, whisky masterclasses and tastings.

Strategic rationale
Scotch is at the heart of our business and performing well, reporting 7% net sales growth in our recent half year results. Scotch makes up 27% of our business. So in addition to growing our iconic Johnnie Walker brand, we're also focused on supporting the growth of the whisky category at large.

Our single malt distillery visitor centres in Scotland have been experiencing double digit visitor growth rates in recent years and we know from extensive research and our own experience at the iconic Guinness Storehouse that immersive experiences directly influence future purchase behaviour. 7 in 10 of visitors to whisky distilleries will buy the brand when back in their home market.

Our visitor centres are a special platform for us to engage, entertain, and educate guests directly - whether they are brand adorers or just curious about whisky. Starting at "Whisky Mile Marker Zero" at the Johnnie Walker brand home in Edinburgh, to the 4 Corners, to our single malt brand homes across Scotland, our guests can learn how Scotch whisky is made and how to enjoy it in surprising ways. Commercial success will be critical to delivering on the business case and securing future investment. As such, each location will be managed as a comprehensive P&L business with management reporting into Global/Corporate.

Diageo has a rich history of welcoming guests to our distilleries and giving them insight into the care and craft that goes into every single bottle of whisky we make. We are fortunate to have more distillery visitor centres than any other Scotch whisky producer and we have continually invested to grow and enhance our guest experiences. Almost a half million people visit annually to hear our founder stories, learn about flavour creation, and participate in curated tastings. As a result, consumers build an emotional connection with our brands, driving salience and supporting their growth. Distillery visitors feel they appreciate the product more after visiting, particularly through identifying the flavours, new ways of drinking and taking a multi-sensorial approach. 62% claim the distillery visit has made them think differently about whisky.

The goal for each distillery site (and for Johnnie Walker in Edinburgh) is to revolve around a unique theme that is authentic to the brand stories and enhances the site character and location. To this end, resources will be directed at enhancing the visitor experiences in service of theme, emotional engagement, increasing opportunities for revenue, and extending the brand connection well beyond the visit.

Purpose of Role

The Retail Merchandising Manager will define the product assortments (liquid, apparel, lifestyle, gifting, etc.) for all Scotch whisky brand homes and retail. He/she will align closely with Diageo Brand Change, Innovation & Global Brand Teams to ensure that retail and brand homes have the best and most complete liquid assortment for their respective brand in the world. He/she will identify and develop retail or brand home exclusives and brand extensions (i.e. fashion apparel) as needed.

  • Ensure from a retail lifestyle perspective that all products are to a high luxury standard in terms of quality look and feel and the Whisky Retail/Brand homes have the right assortment across the range appropriate for the respective brand home.

  • Ensure there is a strong supplier management process in place.

  • Ensure standardised ways of working for all Whisky Retail/Brand Home in regard to merchandise.

  • Integral to this role is how the individual works with retail and brand home managers.

As part of the whisky retail/brand homes central leadership team, he/she will help set the tone for customer engagement, encourage people to discover Scotch whisky, and promote responsible drinking.

Dimensions of the role


This is a multifaceted role in the sense that our Scotch whisky brands need to bring traditional retail shopping experiences to a new level, building experiential and customer interactions seamlessly into the experience environment. The candidate must have an in-depth understanding of retail merchandising principals, product development, retail fundamentals, and an eye for style and design details. He/she will be directly responsible for growing non-liquid retail merchandise sales from £1m in FY19 to £5m by FY23.

Top Accountabilities

Pre-Opening and On-Going Responsibilities

  • Create, implement and embed the retail merchandise lifestyle strategy across JW Edinburgh, Scotland brand homes and JW Madrid.

  • Align with Planning and Allocations and Supply to ensure centralised and consolidated sourcing and end to end supply chain management for the merchandise across all brand homes.

  • Ensure the right retail mix of merchandise and luxury standards both in lifestyle and merchandise across the retail within the brand homes and stores.

  • Ensure there is a merchandise innovation pipeline in place to support brand innovations with the right product at the right time.

  • Visibility of SKUs and ability to leverage and ensure the right cost and quality across all the lifestyle and merchandise and react to slow or fast-moving sellers.

  • Ensure the right product assortment, apparel, lifestyle, range planning and gifting propositions are in place across all brand homes.

  • Ensure that the right brand merchandise/products partnerships are in place to enhance and halo the brands.

  • Identify, develop and nurture external suppliers and agencies and develop their capabilities to develop products for the Whisky Retail/Brand Homes.

  • Help raise the profile (6th largest Malt market) and ensure the right liquid assortment and secure prioritisation for retail and the brand homes on new innovations and all liquid including malts, blends, prestige, and limited bottlings allocations.

  • Ensure there is an active pipeline of liquid innovation to support retail and the brand homes

  • Ensure there is a pipeline of innovation and special bottlings exclusively for retail and the brand homes

  • Develop personalisation and customisation offerings for liquid packs.

  • Ensure brand home/retail inclusion in special releases/editions, and in discussions on specific role in activation that brand homes can play.

  • In partnership with Planning and Allocations, align assortment strategies (store assortments, pricing, buy quantities) to achieve the financial plans.

  • Provide ad hoc business reports and analysis as needed.

Qualifications and Experience required

  • 7+ years of management experience in retail buying, ideally in a branded specialty retailer or multi-brand department store retailer.

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent required.

  • Proven track record of delivering cross-functional business projects.

  • Knowledge of luxury materials, merchandise and merchandising of goods.

  • Experience in working across functions with strong stakeholders.

  • Experience of pricing and range planning of merchandise.

  • Experience in supplier development and management of suppliers.

  • Strong leadership skills, with the ability to prioritize and deliver on multiple concurrent initiatives that have significant financial impact.

  • Excellent communicator, both verbal and written, with the ability to influence at all levels of the organization.

  • Proven track record of achieving operational KPI, revenue, and profit targets.

  • Possess a problem-solving attitude.

  • Background in retail marketing, product innovation or liquid development and pipeline is a plus.

  • Proactive solution-driven individual with the ability to flex thinking and influence.

  • Strategic thinker with the ability to execute operationally and flex comfortably between both.

Worker Type :

Primary Location:
Edinburgh Park

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