In Depth Look at ROSSPosted: December 8, 2011
As I am always looking for a great deal while I’m shopping, I never have to look too far when I go to ROSS. When I walk up and down the isles at a store like this, I see all the great designer brands and the price tag. I can’t help but think, how is this possible? There are rumors that stores like this sell out of date or even damaged clothes, but that is not the case. In order to gain more knowledge on one of my favorite stores and to dispute the rumors, I had the privilege of speaking with Assistant Buyer of ROSS, Kate Lapotosky.
Kate grew up in Burlington, Vermont, and attended Marist College of Poughkeepsie, New York where she attained a Bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising. While in college, Kate led the 25th Annual Marist Silver Needle Fashion Show in her senior year. After graduation, Kate landed the job at ROSS and now is currently living in California. See what Kate has to say…
Q. What made you major in fashion merchandising in college?
A. I’ve always had this desire to know what was happening in the fashion industry such as, trends and the latest upcoming designers. In high school I was reading Nylon and Paper magazine on my own time as well as trying to find sample sale websites. I adapted the trends to my style since I’m from Burlington, Vermont, where most popular and trendy stores aren’t located. I took what I knew and intermixed it with my lifestyle. By senior year I knew I wanted to be apart of the fashion industry in my future career path, but focus on the business side, which is the merchandising aspect.
Q. As assistant buyer at ROSS, what are some of your responsibilities?
A. My responsibilities as Assistant Buyer are as follows:
* Perform the administrative and operational functions supporting my buyer.
* Handle purchase order management and administration as well as processing markdowns. This includes writing orders, changes, cancellations and necessary follow-up, both internally and externally, to ensure key shipments are delivered and processed.
* Analyze and interpret key business issues as directed by my buyer and DMM including the monitoring of regional merchandise reports, Open-to-Buy monitoring, and stock analysis.
* Develop effective relationships with vendors. This includes appropriate level of interaction with vendors in terms of both problem resolution and follow-up.
* Demonstrate the ability to effectively utilize the merchandising systems and understand warehouse processes. Includes utilizing systems and preparation of reporting to allow for interpretation of the business.
* Demonstrate product knowledge through sharing information with my buyer as a result of competitive shopping, shopping at Ross Stores, and other markets.
Q. What type of brands does ROSS sell?
A. Ross sells a wide range of brands, everything from national brands to designer and budget brands. Here are just a few brands that you can find in ROSS stores,
-7 for all man kind
The list goes on forever…
Q. Being that you were once a college student on a budget, do you feel that ROSS is somewhere college students can shop while still saving money, compared to going to the mall or department stores?
A. Shopping at ROSS or TJMAXX has always been my favorite. I think shopping at ROSS is such a good way to save money and shop trendy. They offer great prices that are affordable and on the trend forecast. Most of the goods that we receive are still in that current season. Example, we may receive a pair of Nike running shoes and these exact pairs could be on the floor at Macys or Dillard’s or Kohl’s. Nike ships us their closeout merchandise because maybe they produced too many units or are forecasting their plan sales in that specific category and project that they will not be able to sell all of those Nike running shoes. They will call ROSS and we buy their closeout goods. We also do special makeup’s or SMU’s, where we can create our own shoe through Nike and they make us a production sample and if we give the “okay”, then they make this shoe for us. I rarely shop at big dept stores anymore because I know their IMU% is high, so I’d rather spend my money more efficiently.
Q. What do you think the future is for stores such as ROSS, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls?
A. Off-price retailers are one of the biggest GM retailers in our economy as of now. They are always growing and there is tremendous amount of future growth opportunities with these off-price retailers. They need to find the goods at the right time, at the right price with the right quantity. The target market for these stores will never fade because we will always have our class bracket, for example, the high, middle and low income families. So, the future for off-price retailers is only going in the right direction. Positive growth and positive feedback are two factors they are always receiving from the Stock market and consumer reports.