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Head of Commercial (Category Management & Merchandising) - B&Q | Al Futtaim Retail | Riyadh, Saudi

Date: 24-Apr-2021

Location: Riyadh, SA

Company: Al Futtaim Private Company LLC

Job Requisition ID: 86761 

No two days are the same at Al-Futtaim, no matter what role you have. Our work is driven by the desire to make a difference and to have a meaningful impact with the goal of enriching everyday lives. Take our engaging and supportive work environment and couple it with a company culture that recognises and rewards quality performance, and what do you get? The chance to push the limits every single day.


As a humble family business that started on the banks of the Dubai Creek in the 1930s, Al-Futtaim has expanded to a presence in 31 countries, a portfolio of over 200 companies, and 42,000 employees. You’ll find us in industries ranging from automotive and retail, to finance and real estate, and connecting people with international names like Lexus, Ikea, Robinsons, and Adidas. Our team is proudly multicultural and multinational because that kind of diverse representation gives us the global mindset to grow and impact the people, markets, and trends around us.


Come join us to live well, work better, and be the best.

About the Role

The Head of Commercial decides and sets all goals & targets relating to merchandise, range planning and assortment, range structure, number of articles, width and depth of the range, sales targets, pricing and gross margins, number of suppliers, negotiation & trading terms, assortment planning, planogram cycle, and implementation of the promotional/seasonal strategy of the business across all territories. In addition, you are responsible for managing end to end buying, selling & inventory management related processes. You ensure that performance is monitored against plan regularly, supported by adequate merchandise performance reporting; (ii) ensuring that the product range is tested and is in line with local legislation, complies with import regulations, brand positioning and pricing strategy; (iii) ensuring direction is set for the buying team, with category ‘roles’ set, agreed and in plBrand; (iv) a high degree of ‘newness’ is constantly being introduced while managing the amount of ‘churn’ to acceptable levels; (v) ensures that actions are taken on deviations to the plan to effectively manage merchandise assortments/inventory during the season to meet or exceed strategic targets.


Key Specific Accountabilities

Range Selection

  • All merchandise ‘planning’ follows the “think/plan/buy/move and sell” principle ensuring the process is adhered to at all times.
  • Merchandise assortments follow the good/better/best principle. 
  • Ensures that ‘Category Management’, encompassing the above, through to in-store Planograms & layouts are followed and that the buying team adheres to the process
  • Sets the product range priorities/category roles in accordance with the overall merchandise strategy and is agreed by the JH together with the Business Head.
  • Keeps updated about local market conditions and requirements in each territory, such as “taste levels”, developing trends, competitor growth & customer buying habits as well as product acceptability. All these factors are used to ultimately arrive at a decision regarding range selection and the width & depth of the different product areas within the range.
  • Manages a team of buying experts and together ensures the range is selected, priced & delivered, taking account the product lifecycle as well as our supply chain and warehousing capabilities.
  • Maintaining 96% in-store product availability in line with Principal KPIs.

Product Forecast and Merchandise Management

  • Maintains ongoing communication with the brand  Regional Warehouses regarding all issues related to brand sourced’ product range & product forecasts.
  • Ensures that sales forecasts are adapted to sales patterns in order to achieve an optimal goods flow.
  • Works closely with the 3PL partner & Planning & Business Analytics. Reviews performance of merchandise, plans vs. actual, viability of a particular item, stock cover etc. Based on analysis raises awareness of any product that may not be performing and plans for promotions, price cuts etc. Also identifies ‘best sellers’ and ensures that stock cover for these is adequate & reflects sales projections. 
  • Ensures that product newness is maintained, i.e. that new products are introduced in a timely manner and discontinued ranges are cleared in an effective manner through part sale and other ‘clearance’ or promotional activities thereby ensuring that the aged stock profile & ‘quality’ of stock is kept to a minimum.
  • Ensures the OTB is agreed, set and managed and whether is being operated by the buying or store teams is always in line with expectations. 
  • Ensures the ‘Promotional Strategy’ is delivered, with the target sell through being achieved and buyer’s have a full understanding of how they’ll deliver the promotional buying brief.

Gross Margin Management

  • Sets the pricing strategy for the brand range in each territory and guarantees re-enforcement of the brand Value’ perception building items, when setting prices of the brand range.
  • Sets overall guidelines for margin exploitation by product area and ensures processes are established to analyse margin deviation. Is primarily responsible for the periodic Gross Profit Simulation exercise for each territory to make sure that pricing delivers the margin/ profit goals agreed...
  • Maintains a strategic communication link with brand International regarding all matters relating to costs. 
  • Evaluates the pricing of the total range prior to the ‘season’ start, ensuring prices are in line with set targets and market conditions.
  • Achieve cost benefits throughout the supply chain by taking strategic buying decisions.
  • Additionally has the responsibility to make certain that overall margin goals are met irrespective of clearance sale and promotional activities. Manages the ‘blended’ margin.

Supply Chain Management

  • Works closely with the Demand Planning & Business Analytics team in defining, establishing and developing the supply chain operation i.e. as in realising benefits in sourcing directly from suppliers 
  • Ensures that all objectives/ metrics are delivered including quality, quantity, cycle time and cost through development and execution of strategic and tactical initiatives.
  • Works with the Planning & Business Analytics in planning the flow of merchandise for brand  in line with the overall volume goals set and with the purpose of maintaining stock as per requirements of the business. 
  • Maps the ordering process, the frequency of placing re-orders, and the use of warehousing facilities in a manner that the handling costs are kept to the lowest and lead times of the products are optimized. 
  • Optimises all the benefits of SAP and ensures that the ‘system’ is allowed to operate unhindered.
  • All merchandise ordering is ‘managed’ by SAP whether local/domestic or import, based on ‘rules’ agreed and set by the JH.
  • Has responsibility for stock availability at country level.

Supplier/Vendor Management

  • Decides the budget goals for suppliers at country level. 
  • Has total accountability in agreeing (with buyers) and setting supplier numbers
  • Ensures that supplier measures are incorporated into supplier management & that ‘Trading Terms’ are negotiated and are in plBrand for all chosen (approved) suppliers. 
  • Ensures that (as part of negotiations) faulty goods/swell allowances are in plBrand as well as all forms of ‘margin support’
  • Accountable for supplier capability assessments
  • Maps the ‘Value Chain’, i.e. “Where does the money go?”/”Who has control?”/”Are there too many intermediaries (agents, distributors, etc.)?”/”Is there unnecessary product handling?” (want clean flow, especially for high volume sku’s)/”What’s the country of origin?”/”Should I be negotiating with someone else?” etc.

New Territories and Business Development

  • Plays a key role in feasibility studies for exploring new territories, expansion and modernisation plans for the Brand (GCC + Egypt).
  • Key player in the construction of merchandise assortment plans by country in both stores and online. During the pre-project & project stages leads the following activities: (1)Analyse the feasibility of the product range that can be sold and safeguards that the products are tested and in line with local legislation (2) Detailed competitor & market analysis (3) Study to guarantee compliance with import regulations (4) Brand positioning (5) Decides the pricing strategy & gross margin goals (6) Oversees the merchandise ordering & flow lines (9) Specifies the changes required in SAP  to cater to new country requirements.

System Development & Coordination with different functions

  • Plays a vital role in developing and maintaining system processes relating to the buying & supply chain elements of SAP.
  • Together with the brand Marketing Manager defines the commercial activities/ plans for the brand business and ensures 100% availability of all selected product as per the marketing schedule. 
  • Plays a key role in the SAP and BI ‘reporting’ development in collaboration with Retail IT/STS. 
  • Plays a ‘driving’ role in developing all the yearly product catalogues for the local markets, ensures that availability meets targets for catalogue launch.
  • Works closely with the Operations Manager to secure the optimal range presentation in all stores.
  • Facilitates the close interaction of the Buying team with the store teams to ensure that commercial priorities and feedback is ongoing.

Corporate and Brand

  • Promote Brand and Corporate Values throughout the Commercial team and the ways of working.
  • Ensuring the relationship with Principals and partners is nurtured and established in order to build sustainable business partnerships.
  • Compliance to Principal standard operating procedures and relevant policies 
  • Regularly and proactively liaise with Principals on commercial related issues and maintain good relationship.

People Management

  • Work closely with HR Business Partner to develop tactics to recruit, onboard a new team to deliver business deliverables
  • Manage, empower and motivate a management team to achieve business targets, manage costs and to strive for excellence in meeting their objectives. 
  • Coaching and developing the management team
  • Define and identify critical roles ensuring there’s a succession is a key responsibility.
  • Work with HR Business Partner to deliver targeted people solutions to create employee engagement, compliance to HR Policies and local legislation 
  • Motivate and support the teams within the various functions to strive for one clear goal and to build a cohesive, focused team. Enthuse the team to strive towards the common goal.
  • Benchmark people KPIs with HR to drive productivity and hold line managers accountable for improvement.
  • A role model of Al-Futtaim Way behaviours and an ambassador for  Talent Brand


About You

To be successfully considered for this role, you must demonstrate the folowing skills and qualifications:

  • Graduate (Preferably Commerce, Economics, Business Admin); Specialisation in Retail purchasing & supplier management.
  • Strong communication skills. 6-8 years experience of Category management, preferably in DIY / Home improvement
  • Passionate about Home Improvement, retail and product.
  • Excellent leadership, teamwork and communication skills.
  • Proactive and agile approach to work tasks and responsibilities.
  • Ability to work at a fast brand and in an everchanging environment.
  • Very good skills in planning, organisation & negotiation;
  • Good skills in supply chain management, merchandise management & all aspects of business management;
  • Good working knowledge of SAP;
  • High level of computer literacy and working knowledge of the logic and design of external data information platforms.
  • Should have a high level of market awareness, analytical ability, decision making, strategic thinking, teamwork & leadership.

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