Lucy McCarthy: Building a pet-tacular range

By Our Graduates on 24 October 2014

Lucy Mc Carthy

To think that it has been a whole year since I joined the Sainsbury’s graduate scheme is a little scary! Oh how time flies when you are learning so much! So what have I been up to?

Like all other graduates, I spent my first 4 months in store, learning the ‘ins and outs’ of serving the millions of customers who come through the Sainsbury’s doors every week. During this time, I gained a real appreciation for the integral part our store colleagues play in making Sainsbury’s the great company that it is, but it wasn’t until I began my first placement at the Store Support Centre in Holborn that I truly realised how valuable this experience would be.

When I found out this was going to be as a buyer in the Pet category I was excited, but I wasn’t sure what to expect! Even though my family has had a couple of pets, I had never bought anything for them!

I quickly discovered that there was far more to the concept of Pet food than I ever could have imagined, and within weeks I was driving my friends and family mad with constant facts and “did you knows” about the products, brands and customers that were taking over my daily thoughts!

Knowing your category is a key part of being a buyer, but what else is involved?

My main responsibilities included managing supplier relations, planning promotions and analysing sales data and market trends. However, I’d like to tell you a little more about one of the most enjoyable projects I delivered whilst working in the Pet team, which was managing a full Pet range review in our convenience stores.

Building a new range required analysing what was currently working well and what wasn’t, reviewing our competitor’s assortments and considering a variety of product mixes to ultimately come up with the best possible range to serve our customers with pets. Easier said than done when in some cases this meant choosing just 10 products from a list of over 1,000!

A range review doesn’t stop at just choosing an assortment of products however. I had to work very closely with colleagues from different departments across the business and externally with suppliers to ensure the new range landed in store smoothly.

It was a fantastic feeling to have owned and managed an entire end to end review within the category. Walking into a Sainsbury’s Local and seeing the new range for the first time was hugely satisfying. Months later, I find myself looking at the Pet section every time I am in one of our convenience stores!

I learnt a huge amount during my 8 months as a Pet buyer, far more than I expected. My placement was fast paced, insightful, challenging, but above all, genuinely rewarding. To feel like you have really made an impact on something in just 8 months demonstrates the level of responsibility and trust you are given as a graduate on the scheme.

I am now just beginning my second placement in the propositions team in Marketing. Marketing is a different world entirely and I am once again excited for what’s to come, the variety of the placements is another one of the great aspects of the scheme – I can’t wait to get stuck in!

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1 comment for “Lucy McCarthy: Building a Pet-tacular range”

  • William Tanner07 November 2014 at 10:56:45

    very nice


About the author

  • Our GraduatesThe graduates on our 2020 Leaders programme write about their experiences as Sainsbury's graduates.