Category Manager


Category Manager

Department: Buying and Merchandising
Level: Senior Manager
Reports to: Head of Buying and Merchandising
Location: Mint House, Royston
Hours: 40 hours a week

Key Objectives

  • Formulate and implement category product strategy and through planning & trading activities provide commercial focus to drive profitable growth.
  • Drive the product development cycle to ensure range innovation is maximised.
  • Coordinate and oversee product development and campaign activity to successfully deliver seasonal and core product requirements with customer engagement at front of mind.

Role and Responsibilities

Strategy and Range Planning
  • Working with the Chocolatiers and product development team, develop and priorities the chocolate pipeline to ensure our chocolate credentials are delivered though all channels and markets.
  • Create the range strategy together with the innovation group, gathering input from senior team & market place & implement same, ensuring the individual product strategies are aligned with this overall direction.
  • Agree and implement global product strategies which include pricing and promotional stances and which are aligned with the business’s strategy
  • Work with supply chain on the long term needs for product to create a sourcing strategy which delivers margin, quality, lead time & flexibility targets
  • Work closely with Creative Director to agree the overall look & feel & requirements of each seasonal collection including photography needs
  • Alongside the merchandising and product development teams ensure that all ranging decisions allow the brand to be truly represented in all markets and channels.
Product Development and Technical delivery
  • Continuously update own knowledge of market trends & techniques and feed into product development to ensure we meet current & future customer needs.
  • Work with the NPD team to ensure products & materials are in line with brand vision and fit for purpose.
  • Ensure all product specifications and BOM’s are delivered in line with the critical path.
  • Direct product development to ensure dates are met for 100% launch to spec
  • Ensure accurate & timely briefs and samples for photography & copy writing
  • Work with production to focus on continual product & taste improvements and overall efficient movement of stock to all markets
  • Manage product quality and compliance to legislation through the NPD teams
Trading and Commerciality
  • Together with the Merchandising team establish key financial parameters and actively contribute to over achieve them. Provide regular updates on progress
  • Weekly review product performance taking necessary action to optimise stock, sales, profit and availability
  • After successful sign off agree seasonal campaign plans with marketing, highlighting key product messages to drive sales through all channels taking into considerations market specifics and ranging information.
  • Sharing and selling to all channels and partners
  • Tailoring ranges and campaigns/activity to different markets.
  • Working with channels to “sell more”
Chocolate & Ethics
  • Successfully complete Diploma in Chocolate
People Management
  • Manage the team, conduct appraisals and ensure that non direct reports appraisals are in line across the buying department.
  • Deal with any disciplinary or development issue in line with company guidelines


  • Intake margin
  • Sales & profit by channel
  • Launch availability
  • Full price sell through %
  • % of new products with above average ROS

Skills & Qualifications

  • Fully competent in use of Microsoft applications
  • Excellent negotiation & influencing skills
  • Strong numerical & analytical skills


  • Astute commercial acumen
  • Excellent product knowledge & ability to create successful global product strategies
  • Real flair for HC products and an affinity with HC customers
  • Excellent u/s of the development cycle, supply chain & marketing principles
  • Able to identify and drive key profit indicators with proven success
  • Passion, energy and aspiration in line with HC brand and people values
  • Strong self-awareness, communication, networking and interpersonal skills
  • Resourceful, creative and entirely flexible; thrives on positive change
  • Able to travel throughout UK and some European trips
  • Constantly strives for improvements in approaches, processes & performance
  • Fully competent in use of Microsoft applications
  • At least 5 years experience of working within B & M environment
  • Broad current knowledge of market trends and activities
  • Able to lead, manage and develop team

Apply now