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Associate Merchant - Heating/Cooling

Ace Hardware Corporation Oak Brook Full-Time
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The Job

The Associate Merchant – Heating/Cooling is responsible for all aspects of Ace and EJD assortment strategy, development and execution through to retail for a respective category.  This responsibility spans both B2C and B2B customer types.  The position provides leadership within the organization via a thorough understanding of the competitive marketplace and trends, opportunities for Ace retailers and EJD customers to grow via differentiated assortment and ability to articulate and drive an action plan to execute. 

The Associate Merchant role is the core of driving the company’s promise of delivering consumer relevant, high quality, differentiated, localized assortments to Ace retailers and wholesale customers at the lowest cost.

What you’ll do

Strategy and Business Planning

  • Identify opportunities within strategic planning process to grow respective category in terms of sales and gross profit
  • Present plan to leadership for support and revisit throughout the year to report progress and shifts in execution
  • Manage category growth plan for Ace and EJD while achieving SKU productivity and ACENET Direct goals.
  • Manage highly complex categories and execution (Level 3 POG) requiring cross-functional support

Category Reviews

  • Determine category selection and goals for assortments (both B2B and B2C)
  • Determine vendor selection and lead all negotiation and program syncs on behalf of Ace and EJD
  • Lead wholesale and retail assortment and merchandising aides with category management and store development
  • Understand and drive regional needs of category and build into category deliverables on an ongoing basis
  • Develop execution plan via incentives and marketing to drive adoption at retail

Promotional Planning

  • Plan and negotiate all vendor marketing assessments
  • Develop monthly promotional schedule of advertised categories/items across all mediums to drive awareness and increased transactions at retail 
  • Identify items, negotiate special pricing and terms, develop a retail placement and execution strategy, and present items to the promotions team for selection
  • Oversee all promotional item submission forms, target pricing, correction notices and AD proofing

Retailer Communication

  • Attend retailer group meetings and targeted retail store visits
  • Utilize ACENET to communicate new programs, changes or issues
  • Coordinate with Merch CARE to prep Ace Care Center for calls and e-mails related to respective category

Convention Planning

  • Select vendors to attend semi-annual convention
  • Plan and execute all vendor programs including drop ship forms, Power Buys, Saving Showcase and New Arrivals
  • Plan merchant area theme and execution for respective category

 Inventory/Supply Chain Support

  • Assist in diagnosing and resolving vendor service issues
  • Assist in inventory planning for promotional items

Financial Management

  • Manage and grow wholesale product gross profit rate via vendor extraneous income and SAP conditions
  • Negotiate and maintain New Store Allowance agreements
  • Manage liability fund to fund category growth initiatives

What you need to succeed

Ace Associate Merchant Competencies

  • Product passion – Natural and fanatical curiosity around product and retail marketplace, demonstrated and put into action.  Convertible to multiple categories based on changes in responsibilities.
  • Strategic thinking – Ability to envision, create and present strategy to drive disruptive wholesale and/or retail growth in category sales and profit
  • Results-oriented – Ability to drive results to and above plan with full accountability, proactively shifting efforts as trends and business variables change
  • Leadership – Demonstrated and active leadership across the organization, vendors and retailers as authority in respective category.  Superior problem solving skills.
  • Negotiation skills – Superior negotiation skills with proven results leveraging company scale, business drivers and strategies
  • Presentation skills – Ability to plan, assemble and present with excellence strategy, execution and updates to leadership, across the organization, vendors and retailers

Experience and Technical Requirements

  • 4+ years of business experience
  • 2+ years managing product categories
  • Strong problem solving skills required
  • Strong interpersonal skills required
  • Understand financial measures that impacts corporation
  • Demonstrate strong decision making skills
  • Highly creative, flexible and adaptable with good follow-through
  • Versatility to shift category responsibility every 1-2 years
  • Proven ability to multi-task projects and meet deadlines
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills 
  • Proficient in Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel, Access, Power Point,
  • Knowledge of PCM, SAP and guided Ad-hoc reporting tools
  • Ability to travel 25%

We want to hear from you!
When most people think of career opportunities with Ace Hardware, they often think of the helpful cashiers and sales associates at their local store. However, have you also considered the people behind the scenes who select, promote, ship and process the invoices for more than 75,000 products? Maybe you haven't, but we'd like you to. Because together we help our customers take care of their homes. Come find out why a career with the Ace Hardware Corporation is one of America's best kept secrets.

Equal Opportunity Employer
Ace Hardware Corporation and its subsidiaries are committed to a policy of promoting equal employment opportunities. The company recognizes the importance of diversity and leveraging the skills and talents of all people to the mutual advantage of each individual and the organization. The company is committed to the prevention of employment discrimination related to race, religion, color, sex (including sexual harassment), gender identity, national origin, age, marital status, disability and military discharge, or any other action covered by federal or state laws.


Recommended skills

Strategic Thinking
Decision Making
Interpersonal Skills
Complex Problem Solving
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