Gavin Hodges, Global buyer for men, Tesco

I loved studying at USW. It is a modern university, teaching current ideas and on time issues in the markets. 

Gavin Hodges Tesco 150pixWhat attracted you to a purchasing degree?

I completed the foundation degree in business studies due to not so great A level results. After learning about purchasing in the foundation degree, and also in the first year of my degree, I decided to specialise.  I suppose the thought of a job spending someone else’s money sounded great! 

What is your favourite memory of the University?

My graduation! I loved studying at USW. It is a modern university, teaching current ideas and on time issues in the markets. The teaching staff are so warm and welcoming, and I still fondly remember my favourite lecturers.  

How do you think your qualification has helped you? 

I firmly believe that a modern degree sets you up for a particular way of thinking. I graduated and was lucky to secure a position on a graduate scheme and I managed quite a big and difficult team. The varied syllabus of the degree helped me think about things in different ways; how to manage and motivate as well as drive sales and strategy. 

What is your current job title and who do you work for?

I'm the Global Buyer for men jersey for Tesco F&F, and work from their offices in London. I buy their t-shirts, polo shirts, joggers and hoodies for all of their UK, European and online stores. I also work on what stock we send to our stores outside of the UK and EU to countries like the US and the Middle East. It’s over 1000 stores and still growing!

Describe a typical day in your current role?

Everyone in retail buying will tell you no day is the same. It can be quite a high pressure and a wildly fast job but I thrive on the speed of it. I typically grab a coffee at the office around 8am,  then have a personal 1-2-1 catch up with members of my team. Come 9am I can be in meetings with other buyers and heads of departments discussing issues, catching up with my team on what their priorities are and giving them guidance and direction to help them achieve what’s needed. I spend a lot of time planning, meeting suppliers discussing price, strategy and product and also sitting with my design team planning our future ranges. The department I manage means I need to be reviewing sales on current stock, planning and booking the coming season as well as planning the season one year ahead. It can be easy to forget what season we are even in! 

What have been the key achievements during your career?

Seeing my first range of men’s swimwear going down the catwalk at a press event two years ago, which was a definite career high. But, the biggest achievement for me would certainly be making buyer before I was 30, which was a goal of mine. I'm due to be made senior buyer six months before my 32nd birthday. It hasn’t been easy - lots of late nights and working all weekend - but it’s been certainly worth it. 

What would be your advice to someone wishing to follow your career path?

Follow your dream and show your passion. I would also advise to think about the position in the market you would want to buy for, and look to get into that level sooner rather than later. My example here would be buying for a value retailer as opposed to buying for a luxury retailer. I like value due to the sheer volume and number of options I buy.