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Associate Category Manager

Purchasing | Mattoon, IL Corporate Office | Full Time

Job Description

Job Title:                             Associate Category Manager

Job Location:                      Store Support Center, Mattoon, IL

Reports to:                          Category Manager

FLSA Status:                        Salaried Exempt

Exempt Classification:        Administrative



The Associate Category Manager collaborates with Category Manager to drives all facets of product assortment, financial planning and vendor partnerships of the category with strong collaboration with their integrated cross-functional team.



  • Collaborate with Category Managers, Inventory Planners, and Sourcing to support driving sales, managing inventory, and achieving the financial goals of the department
  • Execute weekly replenishment orders (RSO’s) as assigned
  • Maintain vendor and product information (style, SKU, pricing UPC, etc.) in IMU
  • Set up new vendors, items and initial orders for seasonal and/or basic programs
  • Monitor Purchase Orders (PO’s) for on-time shipping and fulfillment percentage and follow up with vendors as needed
  • Maintain order files and execute PO cleanup
  • Relationships
    1. Develop strong vendor partnerships
    2. Partner with suppliers on product development, as well as the Global Sourcing department on private product label development, as needed
    3. Responsible for program management of co-op, vendor allowances, and promotional strategies
    4. Negotiate all pricing, vendor terms, and opportunity buys
    5. Oversee and manage communication with Stores and Distribution Centers
    6. Partner with Logistics and DC for most efficient flow of product to stores
    7. Visit RK Stores to establish open communication and understanding store challenges
  • Product
    1. Stay abreast of market dynamics and competition
    2. Manage pricing, sales, and profit margin of products to plan
    3. Identify new opportunities to deliver products the customer wants and needs
    4. Conduct category reviews as needed (2-3 per year)
    5. Develop seasonal merchandise assortments along with pricing and merchandising plans
  • Planning/Analysis
    1. Place, track and insure complete and on-time delivery of all new store orders
    2. Maintain detailed current knowledge of sales, inventory and profit trends for your area
    3. Generate and leverage reports for effective decision making
    4. Complete assortment planning and product lifecycles
    5. Collaborate to create financial plans (open to buy) that will align with organizational goals
    6. Optimize "in stock" on basic items
    7. Identify poor performing items and categories and reduce inventory and liabilities
    8. Partner with an Inventory Analyst to determine sales, inventory and turn goals including preseason flow plans and projections
  • Advertising and Promotion
  1. Develop and submits advertising and promotional plans that deliver increases in sales and store traffic
  2. Ensure accuracy of print advertising and product in stock to 98.5%
  3. Collaborate with the E-Commerce Buyer to identify assortment, placement, promotions, and marketing strategies
  • Store Planning
    1. Provide timely direction on new SKU’s and new programs to Store Planning to develop and maintain accurate planograms
    2. Ensure planograms are appropriate to volume and space of stores and grouped for volume levels
  • Team Leadership
    1. Learn to lead the team to drive sales, manage inventory, and achieve the financial goals of the department
    2. Learn to create and communicate a strategic vision for the department, including visual merchandising strategies
  • May be required to cross train and perform other duties



  • 1-3 years of multi-unit purchasing experience
  • Strong knowledge of purchasing systems
  • Intermediate to advanced experience with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets
  • Proven strong negotiation skills
  • Strong communication, presentation and analytical skills
  • Knowledge of the categories is beneficial but not required
  • Ability to participate in our online applicant and new hire on-boarding process remotely
  • Ability to complete computer-based training


  • none


  • Good visual acuity
  • Close vision for computer work
  • Repetitive wrist movements on keyboard
  • Ability to stand and/or walk for long periods of time
  • Ability to walk up and down stairs multiple times per day
  • Ability to verbally communicate effectively and professionally with all audiences (in-person or via handheld transceiver)