Category Manager: Fresh Depts.

Buying · Costa Mesa, California


Salary: Dependent on Experience


In coordination with Associate Category Manager and Grocery Administrative Assistant, act as the primary day-to-day lead for the Grocery and Refrigerated/Frozen categories across Mothers Market stores and eCommerce platform. Department assigned will be determined by prior experience and best alignment with current Category Manager managing both categories. Collaborate with Director of Grocery, Sr. Field Merchandiser, Marketing, Store Ops and Department managers to execute programs.

Typical Duties & Responsibilities

Manage the strategic development and planning for assigned categories. Ensure category sales plans are consistent with the overall Merchandising strategy. Promote and verify execution of category strategy at the store.

  • Must have extensive experience:
    • Managing a P&L including daily/weekly monitoring of sales $, comp growth % and gross margin mix management.
    • Optimizing an assortment across varying store sizes to ensure we have the optimal depth and breadth by category, brand and product type (attribute, size, flavor, variety, etc.).
    • Managing a large distributor to maximize contracts, supply agreements and/or programs to achieve the lowest possible acquisition costs (cost of goods).
    • Managing a large vendor base beyond the primary distributor.
  • Develops an in-depth understanding of the key strategic initiatives. Ensures assigned category strategies are aligned with overall company strategy.
  • Manages, improves and assigns product assortment to the stores.
  • Performs narrowing (SKU rationalization) of categories and works with suppliers to narrow products supplied to the stores.
  • Develops annual category plans which include current situation analysis, vision/strategy and specific category plans.
  • Solicits input from Director of Grocery, Associate Category Manager and Store Ops into rationalization of assortment.
  • Identifies leverage opportunities for contracts, supply agreements and/or programs to achieve the lowest possible acquisition costs (cost of goods) for products selected for the categories on an on-going basis.
  • Performs monthly verification of plans and provides explanations for variances in budgeted sales/gross profit and provides financial projections for periods determined by Director of Grocery.
  • Develops pricing strategy.
  • Develops recommended retail pricing guidelines with Director of Grocery for the stores to optimize category profitability and establishes suggested retail prices within these guidelines.
  • Reviews competitor pricing information sets prices or approves pricing recommendations.
  • Works with Marketing Department on advertising/promotions for assigned category.
  • Works on in-store signage, co-op agreements and promotion timetables and strategies.
  • Develops cost/benefit analyses to determine return on advertising and promotion dollars.
  • Works with suppliers to maintain product supply and communicate any out of stocks to stores.
  • Reviews and works with distributors and manufacturers to resolve out-of-stock issues.
  • Works in partnership with Director of Grocery, Sr. Field Merchandiser and Third Party support teams in development and ongoing management of schematics.


  • Strong analytical skills.
  • Effective communication and negotiating experience.
  • Understanding of financial methodology to determine costs and to develop annual business plans.
  • Experience: 5+ years of buying/category management experience with direct P&L responsibility for sales, margin, markdown, promo funding and marketing support. Experience leading buying teams strongly preferred.
  • The team has a passion and knowledge of natural foods. Natural foods experience not required but beneficial and strongly preferred.
  • Ability to travel to all Mothers Market locations as needed

Job Requirements

  • Strong Excel skills
  • Proficient in Outlook: email and calendar management
  • Proficient in PowerPoint

Must be available

  • Available to work weekdays and as needed nights and weekends

This job description is intended to describe the general requirements for the performance of this job. It is not a complete statement of duties, responsibilities or requirements. Other duties not listed here may be assigned by leadership.