Module code: MAN3138

Module Overview

The primary goal of retailers is to sell merchandise and services. Thus deciding what to buy and how much is a vital task for any retailer. However, this task is far from easy. Retailers are required to make decisions about thousands of individual items from hundreds of vendors. Such decisions are limited by the amount of money available for merchandise and the space in store. Furthermore, retailers must decide whether to carry a large variety of categories or a few categories but a larger assortment of styles and colours within each category. To complicate the situation, retailers must decide how much backup stock to carry for each item. Overall, the retail buying and merchandising function is a crucial element of retail management. It is central to the managing of supplier relationships, category and brand management issues, product innovation and meeting demands of specific customer groups. This module will address all of these issues, both from an operational and strategic viewpoint, by drawing on examples of retailers across different sectors, ranging from food to fashion.

Module provider

Surrey Business School

Module Leader

SAJJAD Farhana (SBS)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: N240

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 117

Lecture Hours: 22

Seminar Hours: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • The role of buying and merchandise management in retailing,

  • Exploring buying and merchandise management across different types of retail organisations,

  • What to buy and how much to buy,

  • Merchandise sourcing and timing the purchase,

  • Purchasing in domestic and foreign markets,

  • Allocating retail space to products,

  • Visual merchandising,

  • Advertising and communication of the merchandise,

  • Evaluating product performance,

  • Supply chain partnering

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework GROUP COURSEWORK (3000 WORDS) 50
Examination 2 HOUR EXAM (CLOSED BOOK) 50

Alternative Assessment

Individual Coursework – 1500 word report

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to: i) provide students with a practical opportunity to apply theoretical concepts of retail buying and merchandising; ii) demonstrate their theoretical and practical understanding associated with product management strategies and tactics.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of two components:

1. Assignment (Mini-project, 50% weight): Students are required to submit a 3000-words written group (maximum of two students) report on the category management strategy and tactics of a retailer. More specifically, students are required to describe and critically evaluate a product category of their choice in a retail store and then report their findings in writing. Relevant concepts and theories must be used in both setting up an evaluation structure and interpreting and consequently discussing the results of the empirical evaluation. All reports must be submitted via SurreyLearn AND in hard copy.

The assignment enables students to:

  • apply relevant retail, consumer behaviour, marketing and management concepts and theories in describing and examining a product category;

  • critically and insightfully analyse the operational effectiveness of category management and visual merchandising and

  • prepare and present management report that facilitates the construction and management of a specific product category and the related retail environment

2. Exam (50% weight): An individual assessment, students are required to answer two short-essay questions within two hours. This assessment aims to test both theoretical and practical understanding of students in relation to the module.

The individual exam enables students to:

  • identify and apply relevant theoretical concepts to address various retail buying and merchandising issues,

  • critically and insightfully evaluate good and bad retail buying and merchandising practices in various retail contexts, and then provide recommendations to address these good and bad practices.

  • insightfully understand the strategic and operational importance of retail buying and merchandising from both of the retailer’s and the consumer’s perspectives;

Both assessment components have been designed to:

  • develop an understanding of the origins and latest development of retail buying and merchandising practices in the retail sector,

  • gain a sound and critically informed knowledge of the essential concepts and models within this retail discipline, and then apply these concepts in critically examining ‘real-life’ category management practices.

Formative assessment and feedback will be provided in seminars as part of group discussions and presentations, i.e. verbal feedback and mini assignment which informs the final summative assessment.

Module aims

  • This module aims to enable students to evaluate the role and nature of the buying and merchandising management process among retail organisations and explain how merchandise decisions are made. In particular, a customer-centred approach to buying and merchandise management will be emphasised, thereby contextualising the product management process within the wider marketing strategies of retail companies. Strategic, tactical and operational issues will be stressed with respect to relationship and transaction management between retailer and their supply chain partners, i.e. suppliers and consumers.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Recognise the breadth and complexity of buying and merchandise management within retail organisations. KP
2 Understand the role of negotiations, pricing, visual merchandising and (supplier as well as customer) relationship management with the retail product management processes. KCP
3 Assess the importance of relationships, both inside and outside the retailer, that are critical to successful buying and merchandise management. KPT
4 Apply the principles and practice of retail buying and merchandising to a group project and demonstrate the ability to present this in a report. KPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The teaching and learning strategy: The module is delivered through lectures combined with seminars that provide a framework on which students can base their learning and develop their understanding. The strategy encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning and progress. 

The teaching and learning methods include lectures and seminars (both weekly over a 11 week period), incorporating appropriate case studies and interactive seminar exercises. SurreyLearn facility will be provided in support of the above.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: MAN3138

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Business Management (Marketing) BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Business and Retail Management BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Business Management (Marketing) MBus 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Business and Retail Management MBus 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.