Juan was a finance major in college. Mallory majored in supply chain management. Neither of them studied anything closely related to retail or fashion, but it turned out their dream job actually is at Ross Stores.
Ross is an off-price retail leader and an ideal destination for economics, business, and supply chain majors to work after graduation.
To find out how they made the journey from Finance to fashion, from Supply Chain to style, we sat down with them to talk about their role as Merchandise Planners at Ross Stores, and how the Company offers so much more than just a job.
What It Means To Be A Planner At A Retail Giant
Ross is a company that capitalizes on opportunistic buying. Basically, that means they find vendors with overruns or cancelled orders both during and at the end of the season. Ross’ team of strategic Buyers work directly with those vendors to negotiate the best deals, which are then passed on to Ross’ customers.
That model of business has brought Ross immense success in the retail industry, even at a time when other retailers struggle to compete against online shops. And that success hinges on the analytical and strategic work of people like Juan and Mallory.
“The Planner role is very analytical and heavy on Excel skills,” Mallory says. “We really focus on the part of the supply chain that looks at forecasting and developing strong plans. We’ll look at trends and match them with opportunities.”
While the Buyers are the ones scouting great product, the Planners are responsible for forecasting trends based on market and historical data, and—of course—planning out which product to flow to certain regions based on opportunities they find. And this type of work, as you might’ve guessed, is actually perfect for people with analytical and business educations, like Juan and Mallory.
“So many of the finance skills I learned apply: vlookups, index matches, charts,” Juan explains. “It’s an analytical role so any type of math or business class I had does help with my work.”
But, as they both stressed, it’s not just the skills that make the role a match. It’s the Company’s culture, too.
How Ross’s Collaborative Culture—And Amazing Perks—Make The Role Even Better
It certainly helps for both Planners that the Company’s culture of work-life balance, supportive team environments, and amazing benefits are essentially designed to be perfect for new grads.
For example, the Company offers both a generous paid time off package in addition to holidays and even a week-long break for the Buying Offices. The entire buying and planning offices shut down during the last week of December, and during the summer, the offices close at 1 o’clock on Fridays.
“I cannot emphasize the corporate culture enough,” Juan says. “We leave at 1 o’clock on Summer Fridays and during the winter we have that break. It’s those little perks that really make me feel valued.”
In addition to their emphasis on work-life balance, the Company offers programs to build and invest in your financial future. The company’s stock purchase program lets Ross employees get a discount on the stock price (have you seen the stock performance recently?!). Plus, Ross offers a 401k program with a generous company match to help you plan for retirement.
That eye on the future of their employees makes sense, too, because Ross provides a clear, upward career path—and the training and development required to get there. Ross has a strong training program when you first start with the Company and built-out learning programs for each time you move into a new role.
“There is a lot of growth within the Company,” Mallory says. “I know plenty of people who started off as interns, then went full-time, and have now moved up into more senior roles. It’s really clear where the growth is and what the next steps are.”
And whether you’re working closely with mentors, making high-impact business decisions in a supportive environment, or just enjoying a casual team outing on a Summer Friday, when you’re doing it at Ross, you’re a part of a group that really does care.
Ready to start “planning” your future? Check out open opportunities at Ross Stores on WayUp!