Meat & Seafood Category Manager

US-IL-Downers Grove
Requisition ID




Are you passionate about the retail grocery market and organic products? Are you a leader? Are you ready to join one of the fastest growing companies in the retail grocery market? If so, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is the place for you! Our unique business model, fast paced and growing environment, promote from within culture, and excellent benefits make Fresh Thyme the best employer in the grocery market. Careers have been blooming at Fresh Thyme since our inception in 2012 - yours should be no different!


The Meat/Seafood Category Manager is responsible for managing assigned meat/seafood categories with the objective to meet or exceed projected budgets for top line sales, total profit dollars, shrink and inventory management. The Category Manager will be the direct liaison between the stores and the vendors, including the DC, in addition to supporting the department managers with training/development, and implementation of new company programs and initiatives.


Essential Duties & Responsibilities

  • Creates and implements pricing, promotion, assortment and shelf schematics for each assigned category, based on detailed analysis of past performance, results, industry best practices, and consumer trends. Creates yearly business plan and budgets by category based on department/company initiatives, consumer and market trends.
  • Negotiates and collaborates with vendors on pricing, product assortment, promotion, ads, services, promotional calendars, and support; acts as primary contact with vendors in assigned categories.
  • Reviews category and department financials (i.e. Profit & Loss Statement) monthly and reacts as necessary to ensure budgets are achieved; meets sales and margin budget expectations.
  • Ensures store inventory levels are within company standards and reports inventory discrepancies.
  • Manages shrink controls at a category level.
  • Authorizes new items entering the market; Researches new vendors for products, requests quotes, analyzes responses, selects products, and implements product placement.
  • Researches, develops, and implements merchandising and ad plans to support category business plan and total department initiatives.
  • Helps to ensure stores meet all company and health code standards.
  • Attends key vendor company planning meetings.

Manages and implements special items (i.e. local products, etc.) and seasonal items for new and existing stores.


  • Designs schematics and recommends adjacencies that support the role of the category.
  • Conducts post promotional analysis to track sales and profit results at end of each promotional timeframe.
  • Maintains and reviews price files and competitive price checks to ensure we are priced competitively within each market we operate.
  • Supports stores with special shelf and display decisions.
  • Visits stores as necessary to observe results of merchandising programs.
  • Communicates all pertinent information, including merchandising plans, ad plans, price changes, projections, etc., to the stores, operations team, vendors, support offices, and department.
  • Helps in the training and development of store level Department Managers and Operational Specialists.
  • Works closely with procurement function; Communicates category and promotional/ad plans to ensure desired service levels and optimum inventory position is achieved.
  • Works in conjunction with operations and other departments across the company to facilitate implementation of programs.
  • Other duties as assigned

Education and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent Grocery industry experience required.
  • Must have a minimum of 6 years professional experience.
  • Preferred 5-7 years grocery retail experience in Natural Foods processes and procedures.
  • Previous experience in a natural foods industry is a plus.
  • Grocery category product knowledge preferred.
  • Financial, mathematical, statistical and consumer research experience preferred to read, interpret and understand how internal and external factors influence financial results.


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
  • Must maintain the highest level of customer service at all times.
  • Ability to adapt to the ever changing high volume retail while working in a cross-functional team environment.
  • Must have the capacity to take initiative for making appropriate decisions and have strong analytical and problem solving skills.
  • Flexibility to adapt in a variety of situations.
  • Must have advanced attention to detail with the capability to prioritize and meet deadlines.
  • Excellent written communication and documentation skills.
  • Excellent verbal communication and interpersonal skills for maintaining effective business relationships with peers, senior management, customers, and vendors.
  • Must have advanced knowledge with MS Office including Outlook, Word, and Excel.
  • Ability to multitask and have excellent organizational skills is essential.
  • Must be able to lead, support and contribute to team goals.
  • Ability to work varied hours/days as business dictates.
  • Must be familiar with Health Department guidelines and regulations as they pertain to a grocery retail environment.
  • Familiarity with Category Business Planning with an understanding of marketing and merchandising practices.
  • Possesses the ability to read and interpret profit and loss statements and understand how the categories managed are affected.
  • Has excellent people skills for training and communicating with customers and stores; Requires a high level of patience.


Work Environment/Physical Demands
  • Prolonged sitting in front of a computer.
  • The potential for prolonged standing, walking, squatting and/or bending.
  • The ability to lift up to 50 lbs.
  • Occasional high stress when dealing with systems/customers/staff.


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