Retail and wholesale buyers (NOC 6222)

High opportunity occupation

About this job

Retail and wholesale buyers purchase goods to be resold by retailers and wholesalers.

This group includes buyers who are supervisors, as well as assistants.

Common job titles
  • assistant buyer
  • beverages taster and buyer
  • buyers supervisor
  • chief buyer – retail or wholesale
  • food buyer
  • fur buyer


Retail and wholesale buyers:

  • Use past sales data and market trends to determine the amount and type of merchandise to buy
  • Keep purchases within a set budget
  • Study market reports, trade publications and sales promotion materials
  • Visit trade shows, showrooms, factories and product design events
  • Negotiate prices, discounts, credit terms and transportation with suppliers
  • Oversee the distribution of goods to outlets and keep them properly stocked
  • Report to senior management on sales and customer response
  • Build and maintain relationships with vendors
  • Ensure the quality of purchased products
  • Supervise the work of other buyers
  • May specialize in a specific merchandise line

Work environment

Retail and wholesale buyers usually work regular hours in an office setting. They may travel to trade shows, showrooms, factories and product design events to find new products. They often work together as part of a buying team.

The job requires a lot of computer work and the level of technology varies among employers. Some organizations use highly sophisticated tools. Others expect buyers to have the necessary advanced spreadsheet knowledge to analyze sales data.

Insights from industry

Demand is especially high for experienced retail and wholesale buyers capable of working in senior roles.

The tools used to analyze sales data are becoming more sophisticated. Retail and wholesale buyers must be able to adapt to new technologies.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

With additional training or experience, retail and wholesale buyers in junior roles may become supervisors or senior buyers. They may take on management positions in retail trade, sales, marketing or advertising.

Retail and wholesale buyers can specialize in a particular merchandise line by gaining experience or by taking product-related training. Having this specialized knowledge can also prepare buyers for supervisory or senior buying roles.

Additional resources

  • Canadian Professional Sales Association (CPSA)
  • National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP)