Head of Buying – Clothing and Home

Full Time

Al Futtaim Private Company LLC

Established in the 1930s as a trading business, Al-Futtaim Group today is one of the most diversified and progressive, privately held regional businesses headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Structured into five operating divisions; automotive, financial services, real estate, retail and healthcare; employing more than 35,000 employees across more than 20 countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, Al-Futtaim Group partners with over 200 of the world's most admired and innovative brands. Al-Futtaim Group’s entrepreneurship and relentless customer focus enables the organization to continue to grow and expand; responding to the changing needs of our customers within the societies in which we operate.

Job Role:
The Head of Clothing Buying and Merchandising will be the visionary leader shaping the customer experience across seven dynamic markets with 50 stores. This role involves extensive travel to our MENA markets and the UK for seasonal buying fairs, contributing to the strategic commercial planning, pre-buying, and responsive market adaptation.

Team and Reporting Structure: Lead a dynamic team of 29 with direct reports comprising four individuals. Collaboration with cross-functional departments is pivotal, and a newly created role for Space Planning, Cataloguing, and Grading Manager adds a unique dimension to our team.

Marks & Spencer MENA currently operates in 7 Markets: UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon and Oman. Candidate must be able to travel to the above Markets plus to the UK to attend Seasonal Buying Fairs.

Role Challenges and Opportunities: Navigate the intricacies of commercial trading planning, maintain agility in response to market changes, and influence strategic thinking to bring the right products to our diverse markets.

Company Culture and Values: At Marks and Spencer, we prioritize cultural alignment with values centered around Inspiration, Innovation, In Touch, and Integrity.

Job Responsibility:
Constantly seeking business opportunities to increase Sales and Cash Margin.

Sales and OTB Planning:
Leading and managing Senior Merchandizers in planning appropriate Sales, Cash Margin, and Space.

Your success will be measured by delivering the buying and sales plan, implementing effective succession planning, formulating business unit strategy, utilizing prompt data and AI for optimal product placement, and launching brand propositions effectively by:

Shaping Customer Vision:
Formulating an annual business plan that aligns with customer preferences.

Ensuring effective OTB planning and e-Commerce Buy.

Range Detail Planning:
Defining and communicating the strategy for the Core Template to drive Core Availability.

Overseeing Core Stock, Fashion Newness, and controlled Markdown Spend.

Product Selection:
Planning, managing, and leading the team for the UK Buying Fairs.

Implementing a strategic buying approach and optimizing market opportunities.

Guiding and leading the Senior Merchandising team in utilizing trade planning tools.

Ensuring effective communication and execution of promotional strategies.

Market Awareness:
Establishing market awareness by monitoring competitor performance and trends.

Engaging in quarterly comp shops and market visits to drive a competitive price position.

Stakeholder Engagement:
Building strong relationships with Finance, M&S Operations Team, VM Team, and Marketing Team.

Engaging with key stakeholders to drive BU objectives and conducting engaging seasonal briefs.

Leading People:
Engaging the team with relevant objectives and providing continuous feedback and development opportunities.

Role modeling Al-Futtaim Way Behaviors and M&S Values, ensuring a high engagement score and succession plan.

Candidate Profile:

Qualifications and Experience:
Strong brand principles and collaboration skills.
Experience in people succession planning.
Understanding of customer market demographics.
Minimum 10 years’ experience in Fashion Buying and Merchandising.
Generalist retail experience in both clothing and home retail.

Key Competencies and Soft Skills:
Cultural alignment with Marks and Spencer’s values.
Ability to navigate commercial trading complexities.
Additional Requirements: Language proficiency, international experience, and cultural awareness are critical for the role. Previous experience with Marks and Spencer is a plus.
Proven leadership and team management in a retail merchandising environment.
Strategic thinker with a track record of achieving KPIs.