module specification

MC5014 - Fashion Buying and Merchandising (2021/22)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2021/22
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Fashion Buying and Merchandising
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 300
9 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
210 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   2,500-word essay
Coursework 30%   1,500-word report + transcript
Oral Examination 20%   10-minute visual presentation
Running in 2021/22

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

The module seeks to provide a motivational learning experience and to stimulate the co-creation of knowledge pertaining to the fashion buying/merchandising processes and the manner in which these two poles of commercial practice link together through (global) supply chain networks. The module content addresses the various roles and responsibilities of these important players operating at all levels of the fashion business, from retailers of quotidian apparel through to couture labels. Discussion and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative approaches to fashion buying and merchandising are designed to raise awareness of the inter-relationships between maximising profitability and meeting consumer expectations in the fast-changing fashion business environment. The key skills of research, numeracy, analytical thinking, problem-solving, visual communication, academic reading & writing are mobilised in completing a diverse suite of assessment tasks predicated on the module’s constructively aligned learning outcomes. The module exploits material disseminated earlier in the programme as academic scaffolding in order to provide students wishing to develop careers in the fashion business insights into commercial realities of the apparel sector


Fashion Buying: product knowledge, garment development, buying cycles, costings, range planning, supply chain logistics, trend prediction, comparative shopping, apparel exhibitions / fashion weeks, budgets, contract negotiation & commercial law LO1

Fashion Retailing: consumer behaviour and demand, sales forecasting, stock planning and inventory, product life-cycles, store layout, e-commerce and the digital boutique, merchandising maths, consumer law, ethical fashion LO2

Visual Merchandising:  store architecture, interior design, atmospherics, mood lighting, product presentation, aural environments, haptics, semiotics, colour theory LO3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module is delivered over a 27-week teaching period, through a combination of workshops, lecture presentations and seminars totalling three hours contact time per week. Seminars feature group discussion and analysis of case studies or utilise a tactic of ‘flip-learning’ to provide opportunities for peer interaction. The module supports independent study through a virtual learning environment hosted on WebLearn, where students can access lecture notes, additional readings, coursework briefs, assessment guidelines and feedback, in addition to finding links to external resources. The university’s feed-forward initiative supports these independent learning strategies. Lecture materials and seminar/workshop tasks are posted in advance as part of a blended learning approach that allows students to plan their contribution to particular sessions.

Reflective learning is incorporated into the module – students are advised to keep a journal of experiences and personal development that charts the effectiveness of their learning. Personal Development Plans can be customised through negotiation of topics of personal interest for assessment and take advantage of learning opportunities as these arise during the module. Students are encouraged to actively engage with the subject, their peers, and the tutors through the module's online forums. Guest speakers are invited to give master classes or discuss career opportunities with students and employability is embedded throughout the module through consideration of the various job roles within the fashion industry and reflection on how the skills and knowledge conveyed during the module line-up with professional expectations.

Learning outcomes

LO1.  Appraise and distinguish between the merchandising environments of competing fashion retailers

LO2.  Assemble and compare an account of the day-to-day experiences of a fashion professional operating in a buying-related role with material relating to the role derived from the key literature

LO3.  Design and justify the creative trajectories taken in developing a proposed retail environment appropriate to a selected fashion label

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy consists of three components, each informed by reflection, professional practice and subject-specific scholarship.

Assessment component 1: provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of LO1 through a comparative investigation into the physical merchandising environments of two competing retailers. Students are able to select the market level addressed, thereby building on personal preference, existing knowledge and professional experience in the workplace

Assessment component 2: provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of LO2 through a report based on an in-depth interview with a fashion buyer or industry professional manager with knowledge of the buying process. Students may take advantage of professional networks and/or visits to fashion trade fares to initiate contacts with potential respondents

Assessment component 3: provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of LO3 through the design of a merchandising solution for a self-selected fashion establishment, the creative processes and outcomes from which are justified in an oral presentation. Choice of the designer/brand/retailer is likely be informed by awareness developed during Assessment 1.


Core Text:
Varley, R. (2014), Retail Product Management: Buying & Merchandising, Routledge

Other Texts:
Bailey, S., & Baker, J. (2014), Visual Merchandising for Fashion. A& C Black
Bell, J. & Ternus, K. (2012) Silent Selling: Best Practices & Effective Strategies in Visual Merchandising, Fairchild books
Clodfelter, R. (2009), Retail Buying: From Basics to Fashion, 3rd ed, Fairchild
Diamond, J. & Pintel, G. (2012) Retail Buying, 9th ed, Prentice Hall
Easterling, C. et al. (2007) Merchandising Math for Retailing, Prentice Hall
Hoffman, A. (2011), Fundamentals of Merchandising Math and Retail Buying, Prentice Hall
Malhotra, N. Birks, D. & Wills, P. (2013), Essentials Marketing Research, Pearson Education Ltd
Raymond, M. (2010), The Trend Forecasters Handbook, Laurence King
Solomon, M. (2014), Consumer Behaviour: Global Edition, 11/E Pearson Higher Education

Retail Merchandiser
International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research
Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management
Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services