Associate Buyer in Birmingham, AL at Books-A-Million, Inc.

Date Posted: 7/24/2021

Job Snapshot

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Job Description

As the nation’s second largest book retailer, you know Books-A-Million as a one-stop shop for a varied selection of book categories. But, did you also know, that Books-A-Million has a large selection of non-book items that includes gifts, toys, games, apparel, personal care, and even home? Our General Merchandise team is responsible for outfitting our stores with the latest in trends, must-have items, and customer favorites in these categories. If you share an eye for trend seeking and passion for merchandising, please see the exciting opportunity to join our team below:


The Associate Buyer is accountable for a select part of the Buyer’s overall business and must drive the merchandise strategy and assortments for this part of the business with the goal of meeting or exceeding sales, margin, and turn targets.  An Associate Buyer is responsible for the merchandise purchase decision making and negotiation for their business areas as well as the open to buy process. The Associate Buyer is also responsible for assisting in optimizing the results for the Buyer’s entire area.


Primary Responsibilities:

  • Developing a competitive merchandise assortment, adjusting plans to respond to the market, competition, and trends to maximize sales and profit.
  • Managing all aspects of assortment, including product placement, ecommerce, order writing, pricing, marketing, signage, and markdowns.
  • Negotiating pricing, inventory, cooperative marketing, and incentives for assigned categories while building strong vendor relationships.
  • Reviewing and analyzing business reports to understand trends, and sell-through and ensuring targets are being met.
  • Managing and owning all category financials.
  • Utilizing open-to-buy to manage business pre-season and in-season while working in tangent with planner to maximize business opportunities.
  • Evaluating suppliers on new and existing products, including, but not limited to, quality, pricing, shipping time, consumer demand, and return on investment.
  • Integrating brand, sourcing, marketing, and supply chain functions into the merchandising process to make business decisions.
  • Determining item lifecycles and exit strategies as well as identifying items to maximize profit and promotional and marketing strategies.
  • Traveling, both independently and with peers, representing the company at trade shows and vendor meetings and in stores.
  • Gaining and demonstrating knowledge of products within the Buyer’s accountability.
  • Providing analysis of item/category performance, identifying trend opportunities, and making recommendations to Buyer.
  • Developing proprietary products that meet gross margin standards and are appropriate to the overall brand.
  • Supporting Buyer on purchase order writing and vendor communication.
  • Making decisions for total merchandising area in absence of Buyer.
  • Communicating with Marketing, Store, and Merchandising Operations on key directives
  • Training and coaching Assistant Buyers.
  • Handling projects as assigned by the Buyer/Divisional Merchandise Manager.
  • Providing direction on key items and merchandising to omnichannel including ecommerce site and social media.



Job Requirements

Education and/or Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in merchandising or business-related field or equivalent experience
  • Thorough knowledge of buying and operations gained through progressive 2-3 years of buying experience



  • Displays solid understanding of retail math and financials (OTB) and usage of these to drive sales
  • Ability to identify, develop, and manage existing business and spot future trends
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Demonstrated time management; ability to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines
  • Builds strong business partnerships both internally and externally
  • Adaptable, flexible, and perseverance to overcome obstacles
  • Displays critical thinking, decision making, analytical and negotiation skills
  • Exhibits strong sense of style and ability to carry out a strategic vision
  • Proficiency in Word, Excel, and Outlook required



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