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General Merchandise Manager, Women's Job

DATE: May 11, 2019

CITY: Columbus, OH, US, 43219

Company: DSW

Req #: 86785 
Location Name: Home Office, Columbus 
Department: Buying/Merchandising 


At DSW, we believe in the power of shoes. We understand shoes bring out something great from within, and since 1991 we've been helping everyone feel the rush of finding that perfect pair. So when you work for DSW, you become a part of all that. A family whose core values are comprised of passion, accountability, collaboration, and humility. You become one of us, You become a Shoe Lover!


Key Responsibilities


As DSW continues on its growth trajectory, the GMM plays a critical role in providing bench strength and consistency within the merchant team. With oversight for a merchandising organization of 45, the GMM will be a collaborative leader partnering with Marketing, IT, Finance and Store Operations to drive creative innovation, revenue and financial goals.  DSW is obsessed with delivering quality styles to its customers everyday through a carefully curated merchandise selection that inspires self-expression. The ideal candidate is forward thinking and has a passion for what’s new. The successful GMM candidate will have an ability to infuse his/her team with that high level of excitement and sensibility to visualize and tailor merchandising efforts toward a focused and regionally appropriate assortment. Intellecutual curiosity, creativity, innovation, newness, passion and drive are critical factors to success at DSW.


It is vital that the GMM continuously seek innovation maintaining an entrepreneurial vision and a practical and logical approach toward implementation. Demonstrating a high level of flexibility and outstanding proficiency in developing creative business solutions and managing financial metrics will also be critical to success in the role. The GMM role is a leadership position and as such should reflect the core values of the company and the culture; leading by example, encouraging merchants to take risks, driving accountability, and owning results with the team reflect a leadership style that aligns with the Company’s entrepreneurial and hands-on culture.


Of critical importance is the ability to provide leadership and development to all team members. Sound business judgment, solid vendor portfolio management and strong management skills as well as a keen sense of customer identity, service and product relevance will be necessary to success.  


Other key responsibilities include:



  • Achieves 4 wall profit, gross margin, sales and inventory/turn objectives for the DSW Merchandise Categories assigned
  • Serves as merchant leader for consumer and trend awareness.
  • Transforms consumer feedback and fashion trends into winning product assortments. Encourages and leads the expansion/ distortion of inventory or creation of new product to develop assortments that respond to current trends
  • Directs the development and implementation of merchandise strategies and tactical plans for major commodity lines, multiple product categories and new business opportunities
  • Leads the Merchandising team in the development of Private brand product offerings in footwear and accessories. Develops sourcing relationships with branded partners and factories to deliver fashion right high margin desirable product
  • Leads Marketing efforts that maximize merchandising opportunities, encourages marketing techniques and programs that drive traffic for increased sales (short term) and build brand awareness and brand imaging for customer engagement (long term)
  • Ensures beneficial vendor alliances.
  • Leads and directs DMMs to create an effective buyer organization. 
  • Identifies new business opportunities consistent with DSW short and long-term business strategies. 
  • Oversight for product mix, distortion, gross margin, promotional expenditures and markdowns.
  • Collaborate with departments across the organization including:Merchandise Planning and Allocation, Finance, Marketing, Operations, Technology, Logistics and Real Estate; facilitate and promote timely cross-department communication.



  • Through partnership with Plannig and Allocation, establish and maintain effective merchandise control systems including replenishment, open-to-buy, seasonal, etc. 
  • Lead and challenge the merchandising and planning teams to appropriately price product to deliver on sales velocity and profit goals, and ensure that markdowns and clearance pricing follows the correct cadence.
  • Ensure appropriate inventory management, where purchase orders are placed in a timely manner, inventory is aligned with customer selling, goods are flowing at the necessary rate, cancelable back ups are in place and goods can be received earlier if selling dictates
  • Ensure the timely flow and presentation of merchandise to store locations through close coordination with Store Operations and Logistics.



  • Manage and develop a team of buyers representing multiple categories; support an environment that promotes professional development; develop, mentor and coach the merchant team to create a cohesive, innovative and business-focused organization.
  • Clearly define the merchant teams goals and create alignment with the strategic corporate goals of DSW resulting in a singular vision across the team.
  • Evaluates Associate performance and works closely with Human Resources in the areas of performance management, training, staffing, rewards/recognition and Associate development.  Complies with all federal, state and local laws and regulations regarding employment.
  • Drives succession planning and talent development at all levels of the Merchandising organization.
  • Promotes strong fiscal and ethical standards throughout the organization.


Professional Experience/Qualifications

Candidates should bring 15-20 years progressive merchandising retail experience. Footwear and accessories background preferable.The ideal candidate will have a diversified background of wholesale, e-commerce, specialty, or off-price.

Additional attributes include:

  • Appreciates and leads with DSW Values; Passion, accountability, collaboration and humility.
  • A strategic thinker and innovator.  One who creates and communicates a long-term vision and purpose.  
  • Keeps team’s work aligned with organization’s goals, creates and adjusts strategic plans.
  • Demonstrated ability to take ownership of and drive business performance.
  • Ability to develop and manage financial plans including budgets, capital plans, and ROI metrics.
  • Proven track record of developing talent, at both the individual and team levels and strong ability to identify, attract and retain talent.
  • Highest personal and professional standards of ethics and integrity.
  • Fashion-forward product sensibility and ability to identify and capitalize on current trends.
  • Strong communication skills demonstrated through the ability to communicate clearly, effectively, and persuasively through both verbal and written presentations



Academic credentials should include an undergraduate degreein Merchandising or equivalent experience. An advanced degree is a plus.

DSW believes that all persons are entitled to equal employment opportunities. We do not discriminate against any protected class including race, color, religion, religious creed, gender, sex, national origin, age, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition (defined as genetic information or impairments related to cancer), ancestry, marital status, family care leave, military and veteran status, citizenship status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or based on any protected category under federal, state, or local laws. DSW also makes reasonable accommodations for qualified applicants and associates with disabilities unless doing so creates an undue hardship, in accordance with all legal requirements. Any applicant requiring a reasonable accommodation during the application process or applicant who requires an accommodation to perform the essential functions of the job should request for accommodations by asking to speak with a Store Manager, District Manager, and Regional Manager, or by contacting Human Resources at DSW will work with the individual to attempt to identify a reasonable accommodation that will not impose an undue hardship on DSW.


Nearest Major Market: Columbus

Job Segment: Merchandising, Marketing Manager, Fashion Retail, Manager, Real Estate, Retail, Marketing, Fashion, Management, Sales