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NOC Code: NOC Code: 6233 Occupation: Retail and Wholesale Buyers
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Retail and wholesale buyers buy merchandise for resale by retail and wholesale establishments and are usually responsible for the merchandising operations of retail and wholesale establishments. Retail and wholesale buyers who are supervisors and those who are assistants are included in this unit group. Retail and wholesale buyers buy merchandise for resale by retail and wholesale establishments and are usually responsible for the merchandising operations of retail and wholesale establishments. Retail and wholesale buyers who are supervisors and those who are assistants are included in this unit group.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
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Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2 3
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2 3
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2 3
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading Text
  • Read brief email and notes about operational matters such as clarification of purchase orders and confirmation of meeting times and agendas. (1)
  • Read information on product labels and in forms. For example, read instructions and directions for safe use on product labels. Read descriptions of new product features and merchandising methods in special order forms and new product information sheets. (2)
  • Read longer email and letters from suppliers and customers. For example, read email from suppliers about major changes to product lines and administrative procedures. Read email from customers requesting special products and complaining about poor quality products. (2)
  • Read catalogues and other promotional materials. For example, read information about products' quality, pricing structures and packaging in suppliers' catalogues and brochures. (2)
  • Read bulletins, memos and notices about a variety of subjects. For example, a music buyer reads weekly bulletins about newly-released products and analyses of overall sales. A buyer of pharmaceuticals reads memos from management about new sales campaigns and changes to agreements with suppliers. A buyer for a large department store chain reads a notice from the chain's legal department about new laws regulating car seats that may affect the type and quantity of nursery products stocked by the store. (3)
  • Read trade publications related to the products you buy and sell. For example, clothing buyers read a variety of women's fashion magazines such as Flare and Elle. Buyers for music stores may read Rolling Stone, Blender and Q Magazine. (3)
  • Read policies and procedures. For example, consult a variety of suppliers' policy and procedure manuals to check the ordering, invoicing and return procedures required by suppliers. Read your own company's policy and procedure manuals for guidance in matters such as negotiating contracts with new suppliers. (3)
  • Read contracts that specify terms of agreement with suppliers governing payments, discounts, rebates, returns, supply volumes, transportation surcharges, and any special incentives and extra fees. Review lengthy contracts to check that the terms are as negotiated. (3)
  • Read text for flyers and catalogues to check its accuracy. For example, read flyers to check that descriptions of products agree with information provided by suppliers and does not contain material that may mislead consumers. (3)
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Writing
  • Write reminders about tasks to be completed. For example, write reminder notes to look up inventory levels for particular products and to mark certain product prices down. (1)
  • Write email about operational matters. For example, write email to notify sales staff of changes in products and prices. E-mail suppliers about procedures for the delivery and unloading of products. (2)
  • Write letters to suppliers. For example, write letters to discuss terms of agreement for the purchase of products, complain of problems with product quality and delivery and negotiate compensation. (3)
  • Write procedures for inclusion in the company's policy and procedural manuals. For example, write the procedures for placing orders among departments within the company and procedures for recording changes in the status of products and suppliers. (3)
  • Write product descriptions and merchandising instructions. For example, describe the positive features of new product lines in product information sheets for the organization's sales staffs. Write pieces for the company's bulletins that outline the sales target for products under promotion and explain changes to store fixtures for special displays. (3)
  • Write lengthy reports to management. For example, write periodic reports for submission to company presidents and boards of directors. Present analyses of sales for different products, summaries of promotional activities and recommendations for changes in product lines and merchandising methods. (4)
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Document Use
  • Scan product labels for data such as ingredients, date of packaging, brand names, titles, artists, styles, colours and source countries. Interpret icons on labels which convey information such as cleaning instructions, storage requirements and hazard warnings. (1)
  • Complete forms such as purchase orders, damaged goods claims and inventory change forms. Enter data such as product codes, specifications, prices and descriptions. (2)
  • Locate data in a variety of forms such as invoices, shipping receipts, special order request forms and new product information sheets. Obtain data such as universal product codes, product descriptions and specifications, prices, discounts, taxes, and comments about suppliers and merchandising methods. (2)
  • Interpret scale drawings and assembly diagrams. For example, interpret floor plans of stores and assembly diagrams of display fixtures to determine if the fixtures will fit in the stores and will display products effectively. (3)
  • Interpret graphs of sales data. For example, interpret graphs of sales volumes for different items over months and seasons. Interpret graphs on order fill rates to detect trends in purchasing efficiency and supplier service quality. (3)
  • Locate data in lists and tables. For example, locate data such as dates, quantities, prices and specifications in order schedules, inventory lists and stock and sales reports. Navigate large tables that list thousands of products and contain information expressed as numbers, codes and specialized abbreviations. For example, a buyer may scan an inventory report to see when products were ordered and received, quantities of stock on hand, number of months current orders will last, and reasons for stock shortages. (3)
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Computer Use
  • Use computer and software applications. For example, use automated telephone ordering systems such as Telxon to place orders and may use personal organizers to manage contact information and job task schedules. (2)
  • Exchange email about orders, delivery schedules and merchandising methods with co-workers, suppliers and customers. Attach reports and photos and send email to multiple recipients as required. (2)
  • Search suppliers' websites for information about products. Use secure websites to place purchase orders and access information about accounts. Use the organization's Intranet read internal memos and carry out other computer use tasks as required. (2)
  • Use bookkeeping and billing software. For example, use programs such as the Merchandise Planning System to obtain information about sales, purchases, markups and inventory. (2)
  • Use graphics software. For example, download photographs from digital cameras, access images from clipart graphics galleries for insertion in other documents and create slide presentations that include imported graphs and tables. (2)
  • Use databases such as Access, SQuirreL, Data Warehouse, Retek and databases in other sales management systems to enter and access sales and inventory data, and to complete and review documents such as purchase orders and price changes. Create and run queries for information such as sales by vendor, product, category, department and time period. (3)
  • Create spreadsheets for tracking inventory, planning ordering schedules and calculating costs for purchases. Develop formulae, set up multiple workbooks and worksheets and generate graphs of data. (3)
  • Use word processing software to write letters, memos and reports using basic text editing and page formatting functions. Insert photos and graphics from other programs, use colours, borders and font selection to enhance documents, and use mail merges to send letters to groups of co-workers, suppliers and customers. (3)
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Oral Communication
  • Listen to messages and respond to prompts on automated telephone ordering and shipment tracking systems. (1)
  • Communicate with co-workers, customers and suppliers about operational matters. For example, instruct support staff how to navigate inventory filing systems. Obtain feedback from store staff about the success of products and suggest ways to enhance sales. Discuss budgets and forecasts with financial planners and inventory analysts and collaborate with marketing staff on the production of promotional materials. Discuss product features, purchase orders and delivery procedures with customers and suppliers. (2)
  • Report regularly to supervisors and managers about inventory and sales. Explain why sales volumes and fill rates are not as expected and persuade management of the need for changes to purchasing strategies as required. (2)
  • Negotiate contracts and resolve disputes with suppliers. Negotiate terms with new suppliers and changes to agreements with existing suppliers. Try to obtain terms that will be profitable and promote smooth relationships. Discuss problems such as delivery delays and poor product quality, determine who is at fault and negotiate compensation. (3)
  • Make presentations to management and colleagues. Make presentations to the company's boards of directors on the successes and challenges of sales and promotional activities. Talk about your work to colleagues at sales meetings. (3)
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Money Math
  • Calculate amounts on purchase orders, invoices and notices of returns. For example, a food buyer for a golf club calculates purchase order amounts for concession items and invoice amounts for special events. The buyer calculates amounts for quantities of products at unit price rates, applies volume discounts and adds appropriate taxes for food and alcohol products. A department store buyer checks that totals on notices of returns are correct given the number of units being returned, cost per unit and applicable shipping and handling fees. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Calculate retail prices by applying specified markup percentages to wholesale prices. Adjust markups according to market conditions as required. For example, reduce markups on products to match competitors' prices and raise markups on products that are in heavy demand. (2)
  • Compare the costs of purchasing options which differ in prices, discounts, rebates, shipping charges, customs fees and currency exchange rates. Consider the cost implications of suppliers' policies for minimum and mixed orders. For example, a buyer may find that suppliers who offer low product prices also require large minimum orders of unmixed products which may increase costs due to slow inventory turnover. (3)
  • Create and monitor purchasing schedules. Order different products at daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual intervals to maintain adequate stock to meet customer demand. Factor in the times needed for processing and delivery of orders and also schedule orders to take advantage of promotions by suppliers. (3)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Measure products using common measuring tools. For example, a clothing buyer uses a tape measure to check if the neck, waist and inseam sizes of items are consistent with the items' size labels. A food buyer weighs expensive items such as lobsters. (1)
  • Calculate product storage and display capacities. For example, a buyer for a music store chain uses measurements of products, display fixtures and store floor spaces to calculate the quantities of products that can be displayed per fixture and per store. A pharmaceuticals wholesale buyer determines whether products fall within warehouse weight restrictions and if they need to be repackaged to fit on distribution centre shelving. (2)
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Data Analysis
  • Monitor inventory levels. For example, compare quantities available in stock with quantities on order to identify stock shortages. (1)
  • Analyze sales and inventory data for trends in sales and product movement. Analyze monthly sales for current and past years to identify seasonal variations in sales. Calculate year-to-date sales, average inventory levels, inventory turnover rates and order fill rates to diagnose purchasing and distribution problems. (3)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the time required to have orders processed and delivered. Estimates depend on shipping distances and previous experience with suppliers. (2)
  • Make forecasts or sales projections to determine the quantities of products to purchase. Analyze existing stock levels and products' sales histories to build inventories that move quickly with minimum returns. There may be only limited data on new products. Consider unpredictable factors such as changes in weather, consumer tastes and commodity prices that can affect sales. (3)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Retail and wholesale buyers organize their own tasks to ensure that products are delivered on time and in adequate quantities. They plan their schedules to complete daily tasks such as reviewing stock reports and completing purchase orders. They also organize their schedules to meet periodic deadlines such as the preparation of monthly promotional publications, and quarterly and annual forecasts. They fit in meetings with suppliers, co-workers and managers, and plan their schedules to accomplish work that arises from the meetings. They must frequently reorganize their tasks to respond to enquiries and address operational problems. Retail and wholesale buyers may coordinate the work of support staff such as inventory analysts and purchasing clerks. They may also organize the work of staff at retail outlets when implementing marketing strategies. (3)
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Decision Making
  • Set retail prices, sale prices and discounts. For example, a retail buyer may decide to lower prices to clear old stock. A wholesale buyer may decide to pass on greater percentages of suppliers' discounts to retail dealers to retain the retailers' business. The buyers consider the possibility of losing customers and clients to competitors with lower prices and whether the lowered prices will still produce acceptable revenue. (2)
  • Select suppliers. Consider the products, prices and services offered by each. For example, decide to purchase through distributors rather than directly from manufacturers to access larger product range and easier shipping arrangements. In some cases, choose certain suppliers over others because their staff are more responsive and pleasant to deal with. (2)
  • Determine the methods for merchandising products. Consider suppliers' suggestions and requirements, store layouts, types of display fixtures available and your own professional experience with customers' responses. (3)
  • Select and modify sales and inventory management systems. For example, a music buyer decides to introduce a new product classification system. The buyer analyzes the needs of various departments, identifies the advantages of a new system and considers the amount of training staff will need to implement the change. (3)
  • Select products to buy and sell. For example, select new products to place in inventory and choose the types, styles and sizes of products to order. Consider factors such as the type and quality of products available, the sales histories of similar products and the effects of consumer trends and legislation. Decide which stores should carry specific products depending on the location, size and customer profile of each store. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • Products cannot be accommodated in store display fixtures and warehouse shelving. Collaborate with retailers and warehouse staff to develop solutions such as repackaging products and rearranging fixtures. (2)
  • Discover inconsistencies in the pricing and coding of products. For example, a buyer for a chain of convenience stores finds that managers of some stores have marked down prices for products. The buyer explains the need for consistency and instructs retailers not to mark down prices independently. A wholesale food buyer receives notification from the warehouse that the universal product codes on products from a supplier are not scanning correctly. The buyer contacts the supplier to trace coding changes and informs warehouse and retail staff of the lot numbers of products affected. (2)
  • Shipments do not match purchase orders. For example, retail buyers may receive products of the wrong sizes and styles. Buyers for wholesale distributors may receive complaints from retail dealers about incomplete orders and shipments of damaged products. The buyers contact suppliers and shipping companies to determine the reasons for faulty orders, arrange for alternative shipments and, if needed, negotiate suitable compensation. (2)
  • Sales are slow. For example, sales volumes for particular products, departments and stores are significantly lower than for previous years. Investigate the disappointing sales to discover if the declines are due to lower product quality, poor stocking and distribution schedules, ineffective marketing or changing consumer tastes. Develop plans to address the causes including changing product lines and suppliers. (3)
  • Suppliers are not performing according to agreed terms. For example, find that suppliers have raised prices from those originally quoted and are not supplying volumes as specified in agreements. Suppliers to whom they have already sent payments for goods have filed for bankruptcy. Discuss the problems with suppliers to find mutually acceptable solutions and negotiate new terms. Seek advice from legal and financial agencies to retrieve payments, obtain needed products and minimize losses. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Find information about stock and the status of orders by consulting the company's inventory management systems and speaking with sales and warehouse staff, suppliers and retailers. Walk through warehouses to survey stock on hand as necessary. (2)
  • Find information about competitors' marketing strategies by reading industry publications and doing comparison shopping at competitors' establishments. (2)
  • Find information about products and suppliers by consulting product catalogues, searching suppliers' websites and speaking with sales representatives, co-workers, colleagues and managers. (2)
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Critical Thinking
  • Assess the benefits and drawbacks of carrying particular products. For example, weigh the drawbacks of carrying products with low sales against the benefits of maintaining the credibility of the company as a knowledgeable and reliable carrier of complete product lines. (2)
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of marketing methods. Draw on experience with customer responses to assess the effectiveness of various materials and display methods. Analyze sales data before and after promotional campaigns. For example, a clothing buyer looks at displays to judge if garments are attractively displayed and will draw maximum customer attention. The buyer also analyzes data on sales of featured and related products to identify possible effects of the displays. (2)
  • Assess the market appeal of products. Analyze sales histories, read trade publications about industry trends and ask sales staff and customers for feedback about products. For example, a food buyer judges the appeal of different types of wines and cheeses. A buyer for a music store chain grades thousands of titles according to criteria such as sales volumes, musical significance and current trends in music production and consumption. (2)
  • Judge the quality of products. Read promotional literature, examine products and packaging, try products out and draw on knowledge of particular industries. For example, an office supplies buyer judges the quality of paper by feeling its weight and texture and looking at its colour. A clothing buyer assesses the fabric, stitching and overall finish of garments. (2)
  • Evaluate the quality of service provided by suppliers. Analyze information about the quality of suppliers' products and reliability of deliveries by reviewing warehouse reports, shipping records and customer complaints. Also consider the knowledge and responsiveness of suppliers' representatives. Complete formal evaluations at regular intervals to inform the selection process for the organization's favoured suppliers. (3)
  • Assess the merits and drawbacks of contracts with vendors. Analyze the match between the market and the vendors' product lines. Consider price quotes and terms for payments, discounts, rebates, defectives allowances, transportation fees and advertising expenses. Also consider the policies on returns and the level of service vendors will provide. For example, buyers may consider whether vendors agree to supply to numerous distribution centres across the country. (3)
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