Head of Buying – General Merchandise – Central London

Head of Buying – General Merchandise


Central London



We have a fantastic opportunity for an experienced Head of Buying to join our commercial team based in our Travel Head Office in London.

Job Description

At WHSmith our people are at the heart of everything we do. They are the ones that go the extra mile for our customers. The ones that enable our growth. That’s why our Commercial team is passionate about creating an environment where people can be creative and trailblazing in order to do their best work. The role of the Head of Buying is a key member of the senior leadership team responsible for all areas of planning, strategy and creative direction for their department. You will have significant influence internally and externally and will be pivotal to delivering the business targets through bold decision making and expert leadership.

Who we are

Celebrating 230 years, we’re proud to have grown and evolved into a globally recognised brand present in over 30 countries around the world, and we’re proud to be that air of familiarity people love and trust on their journey, both in life and through life. As a diverse group of over 11,000 colleagues, we are all on the same journey to a better business through our commitments to our planet, people and the communities we serve.

For UK Travel our mission is simple – to create value for our stakeholders by providing a platform for global brands responsible for essentials and technology in airports (including our InMotion stores), hospitals, rail stations and other markets. Our office is based in a buzzing part of central London close to Liverpool Street Station. We are an ambitious team that thrives on pace, collaboration and innovation resulting in a real entrepreneurial culture at all levels. It’s perfect for people who are happy to use their initiative and embrace life outside their comfort zone.

What you'll do

  • Create a culture where your team will thrive – providing guidance and coaching to bring out the best in your people
  • Have complete P&L oversight of all commercial KPI’s across the business and total accountability for your department’s delivery within this with a focus on net profitability
  • You will represent your team to the wider business as an integral member of the senior leadership team
  • Take the lead for the whole commercial team on specific projects and initiatives
  • Understand total business strategy & their category's role within it, setting the long-term vision and direction
  • Flex between short term tactical and long-term strategic priorities
  • Incorporate an understanding of competitive landscape, markets, customers and formats to execute your strategy
  • Influence cross-functionally to create an environment enabling your team to deliver
  • Be ambitious and bold in your thinking, driving change and challenging the status quo

Who you are

  • You are recognized for your commercial acumen with a variety of senior level experience
  • A bold leader who holds the team accountable and is passionate about delivering best in class results through the team
  • Proven experience of leading and developing high performing teams
  • A strong role model for Commercial across the business
  • An individual with excellent influencing skills at all levels
  • Is a compelling voice of the business and category(s) externally (suppliers, landlords), and internally (stakeholders, stores)
  • Acts as part of a wider senior leadership team
  • Leads and develops a positive culture

What we can offer you

  • Competitive salary and car allowance
  • Annual bonus based on company and personal performance
  • Hybrid working model from home and in the office
  • 25 Days holiday, plus your Birthday off, plus Bank Holidays with an opportunity to buy extra days holiday
  • Finish at 4pm on a Friday
  • Competitive pension contribution
  • Staff discount card for stores and online


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