Senior Category Merchandising Manager - Run & Fitness Apparel


Posted Date
Job ID
Job Function
REI City
REI State
REI Location
Seattle HQ
Remote Eligible
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What's cool about this job
REI is committed to becoming a fully inclusive, antiracist, multicultural organization. To fulfill our brand promise of enabling a life well-lived outside for everyone, we are seeking candidates who demonstrate shared values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism. 

The Senior Category Merchandising Manager contributes to REI’s success by developing strategic business plans and driving key company financial metrics including sales, turn, margin and in-stock goals. Manages assigned product categories, including assortment designs, product development and product selection for Retail and Direct Marketing customers. Builds and maintains excellent relationships between vendors and REI in order to achieve mutual goals of sales and profitability. Supports the DMM in the planning and development of seasonal Specialty Shop Product Strategy, provides thought leadership with CMM peers and prepare cross divisional product support plans (Marketing, Visual Merch, Retail Ops and Digital Retail). Supervises, coaches and mentors Buyers, Assistants, and Product Specialists. Models and acts in accordance with REI’s guiding values and mission.


  • Support the DMM in planning and development of seasonal Specialty Shop Product Strategy
  • Provide thought leadership with CMM peers and prepare x-div product support plans (Marketing, Visual Merch, Retail Ops and Digital Retail)
  • Represent product support plans with cross-divisional partners
  • Lead department-level category management block development, aligned with DMM’s shop-level guidance

Assortment and Product Planning

  • Create assortment strategies and partner with Category Planning manager to develop initial sales forecast for product category based on corporate and specialty shop strategic objectives; financial, market and industry trends; item and vendor performance (sales, margin, markdowns, quality and in-stocks).
  • Identify target customers and their needs by product category by using seasonal planning surveys from Retail and Direct Marketing, reviewing customer comments, visiting stores, reading trade publications, communicating with Retail and participating in the industry.
  • Build compelling assortments that meet the needs of our target customers by considering product attributes, intended end use, activity levels, pricing ladder, REI Brand Frame and market trends.
  • Reconcile style plan and Marketing continuities with financial and space plan at class and departmental level.
  • Set retail prices in accordance with market needs as well as corporate and vendor policies.
  • Review and resolve in-season assortment requests.
  • Work with Merchandising Visual Liaison on product presentation issues and opportunities.
  • Communicate final assortment and department direction to other stakeholders within the company, such as the Leadership team, departmental teams, Marketing, Visual Liaison, Marketing, Online and Retail. Include information about cost, terms, price, distribution and marketing as needed. Coordinate and disseminate product information to Marketing through product review process and to Retail through appropriate communication processes.
  • Work with Business Analysts to develop and improve consistent systems and processes for assortment and financial planning.
  • Formulate Private Brands assortment strategies in partnership with Product Line Manager, including target cost and retail, initial forecast, seasonal delivery timelines by item, communicating market trend, product sales histories, product lifecycle, style targets, and customer.
  • For REI Private Brand product not developed through Product Development, work cross functionally with Private Brands to ensure that all prospective Private Brands vendors are aware of and capable of meeting appropriate standards including, but not limited to quality, labor compliance and packaging.
  • Give direction to REI Private Brands Product Line Manager & team to ensure REI Private Brands quality standards, competitive pricing and long-term availability adhere to REI corporate sourcing guidelines.
  • Support new category launches.

Product Quality

  • Help to resolve nonconformity problems as needed.
  • Partner with QA to negotiate with vendors on defective and damaged products.
  • Communicate to Merchandise Assistant to ensure that Inspectors and Engineers receive input, inspection codes and notes to guide them in inspection process for all REI Private Brands products and other branded products as specified.

Vendor Relationships/Development

  • Build and maintain relationships with vendors to ensure profitability.
  • Develop strategic business plans with key vendors.
  • Negotiate with vendors for best costs, terms, discounts, freight, co-op and marketing support.
  • Continually seek out new vendors and innovative product opportunities.
  • Gain vendor support for corporate inventory and terms initiatives.
  • Negotiate vendor marketing funds agreements with product vendors and follow up on collection as required.
  • Coordinate vendor partner’s participation in REI event and promotional plans including “First to Market” opportunities.

Business Acumen and Planning

  • Understand REI strategic plan and linkages with assortment planning.
  • Contribute to the development of short- and long-term specialty shop strategic and business plans.
  • Understand, fully use and continuously improve processes and systems.
  • Know and monitor competitive, specialty shop and industry trends.
  • Coordinate with Planner and Forecast Analyst about forecasting of new products, initial delivery information, product life cycles and service level strategies.
Bring your passion and expertise
  • 5+ years merchandising experience
  • Experience with growing e-commerce sales and maximizing digital offerings
  • Insight & experience implementing product strategy
  • Demonstrated effectiveness navigating cross divisional boundaries
  • Command of analytical skills; applied knowledge of merchandising financial plans and performance measurements
  • Command of negotiation and relationship building skills
  • Understanding of merchandising principles and the market (trends, conditions, sales, projections, etc.) and ability to translate that information into assortment plans and product selections.
  • Builds capacity of individuals and teams through effective employee development, involvement, communication, and supervision efforts.
  • Creates a strong, mutually supportive work spirit and culture where people can do their best.
  • Establishes trust and inspires others.
  • Makes effective organization and people decisions in a manner consistent with REI's values and ethics.
  • Delivers on commitments and holds others to same.
  • Champions the organization and advocates solutions in the overall Company's best interest.
  • Uses business knowledge, innovative thinking, and sound judgment in the solution of problems or the pursuit of business opportunities.
  • Consolidates information from various sources including feedback from others to reach sound decisions.
  • Considers the ultimate impact of decisions and actions on internal and external customers.
  • Fosters change in company direction.
  • Effectively plans and executes changes.

REI hires, trains, and promotes regardless of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, veteran status, and other protected status as required by applicable law. We remain deeply committed to making the Co-op a place where everyone can feel safe and be themselves. Join us. 
As required by applicable Pay Transparency laws, REI provides a range of minimum compensation for roles that may be hired in locations under these requirements. Factors that may be used to determine your actual salary may include a wide array of factors, including: your specific skills and experience, geographic location or other relevant factors. The salary range for this position may be lower or higher in different markets.

The pay for this role is: $95,000 to $200,000 per year  
At REI we offer an enviable work environment that Fortune Magazine has recognized on the "100 Best Places to Work" list since the award's inception – 23 years in a row! Sure, we work hard, but it’s balanced with time off to play—a strategy that works for us as we continue to grow and thrive. Want to enjoy a workplace where you can be yourself, be heard and be respected while having a job that challenges you? This is the place.

With more than 160 retail locations (and growing), REI offers unique competitive benefits to its more than 15,000 employees, including healthcare, gear and apparel discounts, free equipment rentals and challenge grants to help employees reach personal outdoor goals, generous retirement plan contributions, public transit subsidy, adoptions assistance, paid sabbaticals, and more.

REI is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Posting Range
$95,000 to $200,000 per year
ARTICLE 23-A, Section 753

§753. Factors to be considered concerning a previous criminal conviction; presumption.

1. In making a determination pursuant to section seven hundred fifty-two of this chapter, the public agency or private employer shall consider the following factors:

(a) The public policy of this state, as expressed in this act, to encourage the licensure and employment of persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses.

(b) The specific duties and responsibilities necessarily related to the license or employment sought or held by the person.

(c) The bearing, if any, the criminal offense or offenses for which the person was previously convicted will have on his fitness or ability to perform one or more such duties or responsibilities.

(d) The time which has elapsed since the occurrence of the criminal offense or offenses.

(e) The age of the person at the time of occurrence of the criminal offense or offenses.

(f) The seriousness of the offense or offenses.

(g) Any information produced by the person, or produced on his behalf, in regard to his rehabilitation and good conduct.

(h) The legitimate interest of the public agency or private employer in protecting property, and the safety and welfare of specific individuals or the general public.

2. In making a determination pursuant to section seven hundred fifty-two of this chapter, the public agency or private employer shall also give consideration to a certificate of relief from disabilities or a certificate of good conduct issued to the applicant, which certificate shall create a presumption of rehabilitation in regard to the offense or offenses specified therein.