Merchandising or “brand management”?

I weighed in on a recent RetailWire discussion about different types of merchandising organizations. In particular, I argued the merits vs. flaws of “brand management” as an organizing principle, and come down on the side of category management instead:

I’m not sure that the CPG concept of brand management — which has been in place for many years — is totally applicable to retail merchandise management. There is still a place for category managers (i.e. buyers) who can put together assortments of disparate brands, to make sure that each brand has a point of view so the department (and store) is coherent to the customer. Do private brands and exclusive brands need their own advocates in a retail organization? Absolutely, but not at the expense of redundant assortments and a confusing shopping experience.

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