Gillian Ford is a second-year trading graduate at Musgrave, having joined the programme after gaining a degree in commerce and a postgraduate in food marketing at UCC.

Gillian always wanted to work for a FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) company in the food industry, so when she found testimonials from previous Musgrave trading graduates it really sparked her interest. Here, Gillian describes in her own words a typical day in her job role, which in trading is fast-paced and always changing.


My day…

Every day in trading is different whether it be negotiating deals with suppliers, reviewing sales performance, developing new products or analysing market trends. A buyer’s goal is to make sure our customers’ needs are met in-store by having the best range available at a competitive price. We do this by identifying any product gaps in our range versus our competitors and working collaboratively with our suppliers to guarantee our customers have quality offers throughout the year.

I work on the Fresh Convenience category which manages a variety of portfolios ranging from cheese to ‘food-to-go’.

A typical day would comprise the following:


Attend range review presentation. A range review is a formal presentation where a new plan for a category is proposed to senior management. As owner of the range, the buyer must routinely review the performance of his/her portfolio. This is done by creating the best range for the consumer using metrics such as sales profitability, consumer insights and key trends.


Look at last week’s sales performance and assess how our newly-listed lines are selling in-store.


Supplier meeting – we meet with different suppliers throughout the week to review performance, negotiate pricing, discuss new product development or resolve any challenges facing Musgrave or the supplier. We work collaboratively with our suppliers to always ensure we have the right product at the right price to meet our customers’ needs.


New Product Development meeting – we are working closely with our product developers and suppliers to expand our vegetarian/vegan range in our stores. These meetings usually involve tasting new products, giving feedback to the developer and establishing the price with the supplier.


Budget meeting – each week we look at our margin performance as a team and see whether we are tracking ahead or behind our forecasts.


Follow up on emails, complete tasks with imminent deadlines and catch up with my manager on any pressing issues.