Columbia Sportswear Regional Apparel Merchant

Geneva, Switzerland

Department: Apparel Merchandising

Reports to:  Apparel Merchandising Director

This job description is not meant to be an all inclusive list of duties and responsibilities, but constitutes a general definition of the position’s scope and function within the company.

General Position Summary: 

This role is your opportunity to build and deliver a unique and exciting formula for the Outdoor inspired Women in partnership with the Global Women’s product team.

As a Regional Merchant, you will play an integral role in the continued development and growth of Columbia Sportswear Apparel Women & Youth and you will be responsible for developing and managing the Europe Merchandising Strategy of your categories in aligment with Brand vision. 

This role requires experience in and knowledge of the outdoor apparel industry, market and consumer trends, omni-channel merchanding, outdoor product passion, line management and business planning.

This person must demonstrate the ability to partner with Sales and Marketing Regional Managers as well as Global Product Managers to effectively define and implement the right segmentation and line architecture strategies to maximize brand presence, optimizing line efficiency and delivering revenue and profitability upon corporate targets. 

Influencing skills and cross-functional leadership are essential for working with-in region and US based corporate stakeholders on behalf of your region. Adopting best practices  to foster positive communication, operational efficiency, collaboration and problem-solving skills are critical to succeed in this role. 

This role reports to the Regional Apparel Merchandising Director (Europe Direct). 

Essential Functions/Major Responsibilities: 

  • Manage the Regional line construction, pricing, product flow, product segmentation, and product differentiation in alignment with Regional Long Range Plan (LRP) and Global Merchandising seasonal guidance (margin, sku, KPIs). 
  • Define a unique perspective on the Women Apparel category, aligned with the nature and heritage of the Brand and relevant to the Outdoor inspired European Women. 
  • Develop and implement seasonal merchandising strategies for the assigned categories (multi-countries and multi-channels) leveraging history, market knowledge, trend assessment, financial risk and reward. 
  • Analyze market data and trends to identify opportunity for growth. Detect and anticipate product needs based on consumer insights, retail pulse and trends, key & strategic accounts inputs. 
  • Understand the Brand relevant opportunities. Know the competitive landscape and ensure the right positioning of our product as well as marketability of all future development. 
  • Develop close relationship with US Global Product Team and be the voice for Regional opportunities. Advocate product and business opportunities, including product briefs for in-line or SMU. Keep a constant flow of communication to update Global team on market and competitive landscape. 
  • Align with Regional Sales, Planning and Marketing teams to develop operational and GTM plans that support Brand strategy and initiatives with regional relevance. 
  • Educate Sales force on seasonal product innovation, assortment and segmentation strategy, Brand & Product initiatives and marketing activation. Involve actively at various steps of GTM such as pre-lines, Sales meeting, Key accounts presentations, business reviews. 

Secondary Functions:

  • Actively participate in all Merchandising support and tools and Catalogue & Sales tools. Provide support for PR / Marketing activity.
  • Data-base and line management sytems update
  • Perform other duties as assigned. 

Supervisory Responsibility:

Position is not supervisory in nature. 

Job Scope: 

Job encounters new and varied work situations, involving a moderate to high degree of complexity.  Variety is seen in the types of product-related activities and the number of external contacts.  Incumbent follows some established practices and procedures.  Duties are performed with a moderate level of supervision or direction and work is checked or verified visually and/or by results.  Decisions are made within general department guidelines although the incumbent may be asked to contribute to the development of new ones.  Errors can adversely affect the smooth and efficient operation of the department and have a negative impact on the public image of the company. 

Interpersonal Contacts:

Contacts are regularly made with others both inside and outside of the company including Sales, Marketing, Planning, Retail and Customer Service as well as key and field accounts. In addition regular partnership with the US merchandising team. Interactions tend to focus on information exchange, problem solving, and presentation of proposals or suggestions.  Contacts may contain confidential/sensitive information.  Incumbent frequently initiates contacts on his/her own with part being by phone and part via face-to-face interaction. 

Specific Job Skills:

  • Strong knowledge of apparel merchandising or buying, including materials, features and technology needed in outdoor activities, with Women Outdoor consumer knowledge.
  • Market knowledge to develop line construct that is coherent with retail needs and market potential.
  • Experience in European market, with German and /or Nordic markets as a plus.
  • Experience with dealing with European Sport/Outdoor key accounts as a plus.
  • Strong ability to influence others strategically.
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills, in English.
  • Ability to prepare and professionally deliver convincing presentations to groups of all sizes.
  • Ability to conduct complex interpersonal/intercultural interactions with employees and customers. 
  • Demonstrated capacity to solve problems, make decisions, and trouble shoot. 
  • High level of flexibility, self-motivation, enthusiasm, and result driven attitude.
  • Ability to coordinate and perform multiple tasks and projects simultaneously, to work effectively under pressure, and to operate independently and with discretion. 
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office applications including word processing and spreadsheets. 
  • Experience working with Illustrator and Photoshop a plus. 

Education and/or Experience: 

University-level degree in Business, Merchandising, or related field OR work experience equivalent to degree.  5-8 years of experience in apparel merchandising and product development, in Sport industry. Retail experience an advantage. Fluency in English is required. Another European language an advantage. 

Job Conditions:

Job may require hours that exceed 8 hours per day and/or 40 hours per week. (Timezone)

Frequent regional travel required throughout Europe for market visits, sales meetings, and travel to Portland Oregon, sometime for extended periods of time. 

To apply, please send a CV and a cover letter to directly

18 Feb 2019
Closing date:
03 May 2019
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