Nine West Company’s Merchants and Their Roles

A brief history of Nine West

Nine West is an international fashion wholesale and retail company that was founded in the year 1977 by Jerome Fisher and Vincent Comuto (Welch and Raman 3). Initially, the company specialized only in women’s footwear but later incorporated other types of merchandise, including sunglasses, handbags, watches, belts, hats, jewelry, eyewear, and outerwear (Nine West Group, Inc par. 2).

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The first specialty store was opened in 1983 and fueled the company’s aspirations to expand internationally. This year also marked the launch of its retail department. The first international store was opened in Hong Kong in 1994 after the launch of its expansion program. The company has stiff competition from other international brands that have dominated the market. However, it is able to quell this competition by diversifying into different markets. International expansion was facilitated by the opening of new stores and the acquisition of smaller footwear companies (Nine West Group, Inc par. 3).

In order to open new stores and implement its expansion program, Nin West entered into agreements with other established department stores, thus improving the presence of its brands in the market. Its greatest achievement was the acquisition of the footwear department of the U.S. footwear Corporation in 1995 (Welch and Raman 3). This acquisition catapulted Nine West into the largest retailer of female footwear because the division housed several brands that included Bandolino, Easy Spirit, Joyce, Evan-Picone, Selby, and Pappagallo (Welch and Raman 3).

These brands introduced Nine West to international markets such as Asia, Canada, Australia, and Europe. The company’s organizational structure includes distinct merchandising and stores organizations that function as independent divisions. The merchandising organization performs roles such as the grouping of products, determination of market prices, and making of critical store-display decisions (Welch and Raman 4). On the other hand, the store’s organization plays roles such as hiring qualified employees, managing company expenses, and creating strategies to improve customer service (Welch and Raman 4). Both divisions report directly to the president, who is the head of the company.

The management team comprises the president, retailer directors, merchandise managers, and sales managers. Each of these individuals plays a different role in the operations of the company. The president is the most senior person and oversees the operations of the entire company. The ultimate strategy of the company is to transform into a lifestyle company by developing its brands into independent business entities that integrate all business operations and processes within their business structures.

What is the role of a merchant at Nine West?

Merchants play important roles in the day-to-day running of the company. They sell the company’s products, make forecasts on fashion trends, oversee the activities of retail stores, and report to the merchandises manager and president about various aspects of the business (Welch and Raman 4). At Nine West, merchants include retail directors, merchandise managers, and sales managers.

They also take part in making organizational decisions that affect the retail processes of the company’s merchandise in different markets. A key role of a merchant is to spot fashion trends and incorporate them into the company’s array of merchandise as well as use them to make critical decisions (Welch and Raman 6). They spot fashion trends by attending trade shows, shopping in stores owned by their competitors, and frequently reading fashion-related literature in order to gain knowledge on current market trends. In addition, they monitor the sale of different products in order to determine their demand in the market and manage their supply.

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Briefly discuss the merchandising organization and incentives

The merchandising organization is responsible for assorting products, determining product prices, purchasing, and displaying products in the company’s stores. Retail directors oversee the operations of between 50-60 retail stores (Welch and Raman 4). They are responsible for selecting fashion styles, purchasing decisions, determining product prices, and choosing the style of product display to use in stores (Welch and Raman 4).

The retail managers report to the merchandise manager who then forwards the findings to the company’s president for further action. The president makes the tough decisions about budgeting and ensures that retail directors work towards the attainment of organizational goals. Merchants are rewarded based on their performance, which entails exceeding the expectations of the company with regard to the attainment of goals and implementation of plans (Welch and Raman 5).

What are the relationships between NWRS and other Fashion Retail Merchandising Organizations?

Nine West uses other retail merchandising organizations to generate ideas and make fashion trends forecasts. They attend trade shows attended by these organizations in order to gain knowledge on how their competitors conduct their business operations. For example, they use such opportunities to learn how they advertise, market, and price their merchandise (Nine West Group, Inc par. 4). Nine West also collaborates with other retail organizations to sell its various brands. For instance, it distributes certain brands to retailers such as J. C. penny, Kinney Shoes, Sears, and Thom McAn Company (Nine West Group, Inc par. 5).

What does a retail director at Nine West Retail Stores do?

A retail director performs several roles at the company. These roles include monitoring the sales of merchandise in individual stores, making store display decisions, determining the prices of products, and facilitating inter-store transfers (Welch and Raman 4). In addition, they forecast demand by store and thus determine the demand for specific merchandise (Welch and Raman 6). Weekly monitoring of merchandise sales helps to determine the products that need to be replenished. Retail managers collaborate with merchandise managers to create markdown pricing strategies that guarantee profits after the sale of merchandise. Product prices are determined based on the profitability projections that are outlined in the company’s seasonal budgets (Welch and Raman 7).

What does a merchant or retail director have to be good at?

A retail director has to be good at retail management, communication, marketing, merchandising, fashion management, and interpretation of financial and sales reports. They should be good leaders because they oversee the activities of employees who work at the retail stores that they oversee. In that regard, being good at communication is important. Retail managers should also be good at negotiations and solving problems because they handle customer complaints regularly. Possessing excellent listening skills is also important. Financial literacy is an important skill because retail managers control the budgets of their stores and create strategies to avoid losses.

How does the president or merchandising manager exert control over the retail directors?

The president and merchandising manager exert control over the retail directors by making critical organizational decisions such as capital allocation, budgeting, and goal setting. They set goals that retail managers are supposed to attain. In addition, they require reports from retail managers regarding the operations of the stores that they oversee (Welch and Raman 5). On the other hand, they ensure that the merchant makes decisions that are optimal for the organization by tying their remuneration to performance. The main reason for creating performance-based incentives is that the actions of retail managers have a significant effect on the financial performance of the firm (Welch and Raman 5).

Poor decisions can lead to financial disaster, while good decisions can lead to financial prosperity. Certain actions taken by retail directors are not under the direct scrutiny of top management. Therefore, there is a need for a strategy to motivate merchants to make good decisions at all times. The outcomes of a retail director’s work are based on their performance. Therefore, they are likely to work hard and meticulously by making decisions that are in the best interest of the company.

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Tying compensation to performance ensures that merchants maximize their potential and time in order to increase their remuneration. The organizational structures require retail directors to report to merchandise managers, who then report directly to the company’s president (Welch and Raman 4). Finally, retail directors are given powers to make a critical decision that affect the performance of their stores directly.

Where is Nine West now on the retail map?

In 2014, the company was wholly purchased from The Jones Group by Sycamore Partners Management (Nine West par. 1). Currently, Nine West Retail Stores is known as Nine West Holdings, Inc and is a privately owned company. The company comprises footwear, accessories, and jeanswear businesses only (Nine West par. 1). It has expanded into more than 70 countries and has streamlined its business operations to include a few brands.

Focusing on three business divisions has enabled the company to solidify its brand and increase its presence around the world. In addition, it licenses its brands internationally, thus increasing its brand presence and market share in the retail business. The company is a trusted footwear authority that has significant influence in the retail market.

Works Cited

Nine West: Financial Information Requests. n.d. Web.

Nine West Group, Inc: History. n.d. Web.

Welch, Colin, and Raman Ananth. Merchandising at Nine West Retail Stores. 2001. Web.

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