Retail and Merchandise Management Focus Area

Information on the Retail and Distribution Management Focus Area for Marketing majors at the Penn State Smeal College of Business.

A graphic showing how retail is the process of selling consumer goods or services to customers through multiple channels of distribution.

A retail focus enables students that have an interest in pursuing careers in the retail industry to have the best opportunity to learn about field-related marketing practices. Retail organizations are among our most active recruiters. This focus area prepares students for challenges they will encounter. Courses have been designed to deal with merchandising strategies as well as marketing tactics that are important for business success. Retail strategy, merchandise planning & management, as well as developing an understanding of consumer behavior are all relevant topics that are stressed in this focus area.

Marketing majors at Smeal are encouraged to complete the core course and two (2) associated courses from the list below:

Core Course: MKTG 327 – Retailing

Management of marketing institutions in distribution channels from producers to consumers. Emphasis on retail institutions: location, personnel, merchandising, control, promotion.

The suggested courses below are simply recommendations for students interested in pursuing Retail and Merchandise Management:

  • MKTG 422 – Advertising and Sales Promotion Management
  • MKTG 437 – Advanced Retailing and Merchandise Management
  • MKTG 440 – Services Marketing
  • MKTG 442 – Sustainable Behaviors of Consumers, Firms, and Societies
  • MKTG 472 – Strategic Brand Management
  • MKTG 473 – Digital Marketing
  • MKTG 474 – Marketing Analytics

Smeal students studying retail and merchandise management have completed internships and careers at: Dick’s Sporting Goods, TJX, Burlington, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Aldi, American Eagle, Ross, Cedar Point, and Nordstrom.

Typical careers for students that have completed the focus area in Retail and Merchandise Management are merchandise planner, store manager, and allocation analyst, including:

  • Merchandise Planner, Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • Store Manager, Kohl’s Department Stores
  • Senior Allocation Analyst, TJX Companies

Study Outside the Classroom

Penn State Marketing Association has a retail division designed to expose members to resources, events, and exclusive career opportunities needed to be successful in the retail industry. Through partnerships with top retailers, industry leaders, and our alumni across the world, they offer a variety of projects to help develop future retail talent and enhance the status of our students in this rapidly evolving industry.

Faculty Contacts for the Focus Area in Retail and Merchandise Management

Fred Hurvitz, Meg Meloy, Stefan Wuyts