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Retail Merchant & Product Developer -- Hardlines


Job ID 8116492 Date posted 05/16/2018 Location Chicago, Illinois Job Type Full-time - Regular

Summary: The Retail Merchant & Product Developer -- Hardlines role exists to build divisional retail strategy associated with determining retail trends, developing assortment related to trend analysis/business KPI's/operational feedback, executing against these key insights, building framework of quarterly line reviews, communicating retail strategy to operations, identifying supplier strategy, tracking and delivering retail products, measuring results and adjusting strategy as appropriate. To be successful in this role, a candidate must have exceptional organizational skills, possess deep industry connections and trend insight, demonstrate a high level business acumen and showcase a passion for creativity and innovation. A quick ramp up is essential -- the successful candidate must quickly develop an understanding of the Great Wolf Lodge brand and establish close working relationships throughout the organization.


  • Build a comprehensive divisional retail strategy around our entire hardlines portfolio consisting of over 2,000 unique items and over 100 suppliers ensuring that the strategy aligns with overall strategic direction of the Merchandise division.
  • Partner extensively with peer team on integration of key initiatives that cross divisions such as resort logo, dated, character and other programs tie together seamlessly.
  • Discern insights based in understanding relevant market trends, key business performance metrics and operational feedback to develop right fit assortments for Great Wolf Resorts.
  • Develop quarterly line review cadence to showcase product strategy to executive leadership and operations retail leaders.
  • Develop a comprehensive supplier strategy inclusive of rationalization, negotiation, communication, tracking, social and product compliance, etc.
  • Deliver key compelling retail assortments tied to the Great Wolfe Lodge Guest experience including attractions, rooms, characters, logos, etc.
  • Partner in developing key retail reporting targeted at a deeper insights into what is and isn't driving the retail business and adjusting course as warranted in real time.
  • Prepare a bi-weekly project and initiative report for leadership.


Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, Fashion Merchandising or related
  • Minimum 5 years of experience in Retail Product Development including product design, supplier negotiation, trend analysis
  • Demonstrated experience managing quarterly (or higher frequency) product development timeline cadence, and developing programs that effectively align and inform employees and leadership around key business priorities.
  • Strong presentation and writing skills with knowledge of PowerPoint, Keynote, MSWord, MS Excel
  • Ability to manage major product initiatives including style guides, initiative coordination, project delivery, new resort retail location design, visual merchandising, et al.
  • Demonstrated experience working with C-suite executives on strategy communication / line reviews.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop compelling content for a wide spectrum of internal and external outlets including creating social buzz for product strategy.
  • Demonstrated organizational skills, attention to detail, and ability to meet deadlines.

 Preferred Qualifications:


  • Experience within the resort, hotel, theme park or hospitality industry, or consumer-friendly brand.
  • Advanced degree in Business and/or Fashion Merchandising
  • 7-10 Years of experience in retail product development or retail line building
  • A combination of bother supplier and retailer product experience
  • Credentialed in retail organization leadership/involvement such as NRF, IAAPA, WWD, RILA, etc.



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