module specification

MC7071 - Retail Design, Buying and Merchandising (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Retail Design, Buying and Merchandising
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 200
40 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
124 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   Individual presentation-10 minutes and supporting notes (presentation handout and supporting notes, 500 word limit)
Coursework 70%   Individual report - 2,000 word limit (excl. references and appendices)
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

In this module, you will be introduced to the concept of retail design as an intrinsic part of marketing strategy in order that you acquire a sophisticated and theoretically informed understanding of how the various players in the retail environment interact in catering to consumers’ needs in addition to maximising profitability.

You will address those elements of the commercial process that determine the nature of the transactional interface with the consumer. It will also enable you to integrate academic models pertaining to the scope and function of the buying and merchandising processes that determine not only the availability of products but also the manner in which these are perceived.

The aims of this module are to:

• Develop a critical awareness of, and introduce a range of theoretical approaches to, issues extant in contemporary retail design, buying and merchandising.

• Propose insights into the differentiated decision-making processes of commercial practice and furnish students with understandings of buying behaviours across a fast-changing retail environment.

• Foster creativity in the application of knowledge, developing sophisticated techniques of research enquiry and contributing to practical understanding of the field in order to advance scholarship.

• Facilitate students in gaining a holistic overview of professional practice in a range of consumer-facing contexts within the global marketing context.

• Enhance cognitive, practical, academic and transferable skills (time-management; problem-solving; numeracy; creativity; written, verbal & visual communication) together with applied decision-making abilities needed for a successful career in marketing and other related disciplines.

Prior learning requirements



- Retail store design; bricks-and-mortar and online store layout

- Flagship stores

- Managing Customer experience (CX) and relationships

- Atmospherics and product presentation

- Semiotics and visual merchandising

- Trend prediction and technology

- The buying cycle

- Trade shows and exhibitions

- Inventory control and product performance measurement

- International product costs and life-cycles

- Supply chains, distribution and logistics

- Service culture

- Addressing sustainability, cultural and social diversity issues in the global retailing context

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

This module will be delivered over a 12-week period and consist of 2-hour interactive learning sessions and 1-hour appreciation and critique of contemporary issues in retail design, buying and merchandising.

The module embraces a student-led approach to learning at post-graduate level as students engage in the co-creation of knowledge alongside their peers and members of staff.  Project-based activities and case study methods linking theory with practice in applied decision-making contexts will be supported by development of an on-line collaborative learning environment in addition to Weblearn, where appropriate contributions can be made by any member of the cohort in order to enhance learning opportunities.

The module mobilises a blended learning strategy that employs a ‘flipped classroom’ system where the advance posting of material on particular topics/issues frees up classroom time for group discussion and peer interaction. The first three weeks of the programme feature diagnostic assessment to determine the cohort’s academic level and abilities, but as participants in a post-graduate programme students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning – engaging in self-directed study and being actively involved in negotiating the format of the assessment tasks. Industry contacts will be drawn on to identify guest speakers and these events will facilitate networking and broaden students’ understanding of career options.

Students will be encouraged to follow enterprising trajectories by engaging with internal agencies such as the Accelerator and required to demonstrate a reflective attitude towards their academic performance through regular recourse to personal development planning during the module and by setting goals for their progress over the academic year.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the module, you will be able to:

1. Critically explore, analyse and evaluate a range of contemporary issues and practical aspects in the arenas of retail design, buying and merchandising.

2. Apply core concepts, theories and models to own practice and/or work environment in order to address current and potential future challenges.

3. Demonstrate sophisticated understandings of the manner in which products are sourced and the logistical challenges involved in transporting, storing and presenting these in the retail environment.

4. Mobilise a range of differentiated theoretical approaches that address consumer behaviour and motivations on both macro- and micro-levels.

5. Articulate informed critiques of business ethics and corporate social responsibility that evidence awareness of the need for cultural and social diversity to be embraced in the global retailing context.

Assessment strategy

The module focuses on the variety of elements that combine to construct the retail environment and the theoretical models that underpinnings these practices. Accordingly, the module is assessed by two main components, which gauge achievement of the learning outcomes: an individual presentation including supporting material (weighting 30%) and a piece of individual coursework (weighting 70%).


Core Texts:
- Petermans, A. and Kent, A. (2017) Retail Design: Theoretical Perspectives, Routledge.
-Varley, R. (2014), Retail Product Management: Buying & Merchandising, Routledge.

Supplementary Reading:
- Anderson, S., and Mesher, L. (2019) Retail Design, 2nd Edition, Bloomsbury.
- 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. (2018) Retail Buying: From Basics to Fashion, 6th Edition, Fairchild
- Diamond, J. & Pintel, G. (2012) Retail Buying, 9th ed, Prentice Hall
- Ennis, S. (2016), Retail Marketing, McGraw Hill.
- Hoffman, A. (2011), Fundamentals of Merchandising Math and Retail Buying, Prentice
- Levy, M., Weitz, B., and Grewal, B. (2018) Retailing Management,10th Edition,
  McGraw Hill.
- Poloian, L. (2013), Retailing Principles. Global, Multi-channel and Managerial
  Viewpoints, Bloomsbury.
- Peppers, D. and Rogers, M., (2017) Managing Customer Experience and Relationships.
  3rd ed. [e-book] New Jersey: Wiley.
- Rosenau, J. and Wilson, D. (2014) Apparel Merchandising,3rd Edition, Fairchild Books.
- Watkinson, M., (2013) The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences. Harlow:

Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services
International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research 
Journal of Brand Management
Journal of Brand Strategy
Journal of Consumer Marketing
Journal of Database Marketing & Customer Strategy Management
Journal of Fashion Marketing Management
Journal of Management and Marketing Research
Journal of Marketing Communications
Journal of Retailing, Journal of Retail and Consumer Services 
International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management
International Journal of Research in Marketing
Retail Bulletin
Retail Merchandiser