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Cheryl Zempel

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Retail Merchandising/Planning & Project Management


Cheryl Zempel


1400 Hi Line Dr, Apt 807


Dallas, TX  75207


Phone: 847-997-1746






Professional Experience:                                                                   




ZALE CORPORATION, Irving, TX                                                                                                                 07/2015-5/2017


Director of Merchandise Planning & Allocation


·         Directed and oversaw the plan, forecast, and allocation processes for 2 departments within 3 divisions (Outlet, U.S. and Canada) producing $178MM annually in sales in 988 stores to ensure company financial objectives were achieved.


·         Led and managed merchandise planning & allocation team and provided training and career development to a team of 2 Senior Planners and 4 Planners.


·         Provided strategic and analytical support to Merchandising team through all phases of product life cycle (pre-season, product development, and in season).


·         Partnered with cross functional business partners to ensure sales, gross margin, and inventory productivity goals were achieved.


·         Provided merchandise analysis to inform and guide executive decision making, including weekly promotional events and quarterly markdown decisions.


·         Partnered with Merchandising Director on the timing and quantity of new and existing product flow into the stores.


·         Developed and ensured compliance of planning process improvements, standardizations, and best practices.


·         Collaborated with Merchants on identifying unproductive inventory which resulted in vendor negotiations for quarterly RTV’s.


·         Led team in monthly OTB review process with management by providing call outs and action plans to achieve sales, margin, and inventory targets.


·         Partnered with Merchandising Director to present merchandising strategies and financial goals to management during holiday line reviews. 


·         Developed and executed strategy to transfer cross sell product between brands to minimize markdowns and drive sales.


·         Drove 12 months of consecutive double digit comp store sales increases while reducing inventory by 15%.




SEARS HOLDINGS CORPORATION, Hoffman Estates, IL                                                                    04/2012 – 07/2015


Director of Inventory Management


  • Responsible for all planning and placement processes used to achieve key metrics for a $90MM division.
  • Advised General Merchandise Manager and Business Finance Manager on opportunities for improving inventory asset utilization to drive sales and margin.
  • Provided financial analysis and what-if-scenarios for monthly forecast meetings.
  • Participated in weekly and monthly in season business management meetings, presenting analysis, calling out issues and action items.
  • Provided leadership and direction to the planning and allocation teams on the preparation of merchandise plans and store allocation plans that align with the merchandise strategy.
  • Served dual role as Strategic Development Manager supporting roll out of iPlan Assortment Planning system to Kmart Apparel team consisting of 27 Planners and 4 Directors.
  • Promoted from Inventory Planner role May 2013.




ULTRA STORES, INC, Chicago, IL                                                                                                               07/2011 – 03/2012


Director of Planning & Allocation


  • Acted in partnership with the AVP of Finance to develop annual budgets and manage open to buys for 10 merchandise departments with annual sales of $140MM.
  • Managed planning and allocation team consisting of two Merchandise Planners.
  • Assisted in rollout of new merchandise planning and allocation system (Celerant).
  • Developed strategic goals to maximize sales and gross margin by sku analysis, replenishment forecasting, and product procurement.
  • Created min/max recommendations by sku by store for 165 stores and forecasted future need based on these inventory levels along with current sales trends and anticipated future sales.
  • Analyzed item replenishment reports to review future on order as well as recommend pricing changes for over 9,000 active skus.
  • Facilitated transfer of $4MM in aged inventory to 15 closing stores which resulted in significant sales increases.
  • Developed pricing strategy and executed retail pricing revisions to ensure competitive pricing and acceptable margins and inventory turnover.
  • Collaborated with merchandising team and distribution center to execute merchandise recalls and RTV’s.




CHERYL ZEMPEL                                                                                                              PAGE 2 OF 2




CLAIRE’S STORES, INC. Hoffman Estates, IL                                                                                          10/2010 – 07/2011




  • Created and monitored financial plans for two product categories producing $100MM in annual sales.
  • Presented sales, inventory, and markdown forecasts for 29 classes during monthly open to buy reviews.
  • Recommended initial assortment for Ecommerce launch. Also responsible for replenishment of 600 skus online


       based on analysis of weekly sales reports.


  • Developed quarterly and seasonal assortment plans for 1,580 stores.
  • Built and maintained class buy plans by subclass.
  • Created and maintained key item performance reports.
  • Advised on the timing and depth of markdowns in order to optimize profitability.
  • Presented markdown recommendations to management team in monthly promotional meetings.
  • Responsible for merchandise reorders which comprised 60% of total buy.




SEARS HOLDINGS CORPORATION, Hoffman Estates, IL                                                               07/2007 – 09/2010


Inventory Manager                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        


  • Assisted in rollout of new financial planning and assortment planning systems (iPlan).
  • Created and monitored financial plans for three product categories producing $100MM in annual sales.
  • Provided sales, inventory, and markdown forecasts by category for open to buy reviews.
  • Collaborated with buying teams to develop assortment and flow plans at the item and store level for 800


       stores and communicate plans to Analysts for execution.


  • Recommended and developed replenishment programs through partnerships with vendors and merchant




  • Created and maintained seasonal melts to assist in developing liquidation strategies.
  • Developed JIT conversion plan for core replenishment items throughout RTW Division.
  • Initiated GMROII analysis resulting in partnership with vendors to reduce NPI and maximize profitability.
  • Analysis resulted in inventory reduction of $3MM through RTV’s and an extensive product re-balance




  • Selected to be on a team to facilitate training of new buying teams in San Francisco.
  • Managed inventory team consisting of three Senior Inventory Analysts and two Inventory Analysts.




NORDSTROM, Oak Brook, IL                                                                                                              02/2001-06/2007


Financial Planner


  • Assisted in rollout and training of new financial planning system (MFP) to buying and inventory teams.
  • Created and maintained financial plans for a division with annual sales of over $100MM and 100 stores.
  • Assisted buying teams with analyzing and managing open to buys.
  • Created monthly vendor plans by department and store.
  • Partnered with buying team to determine vendor mix and budgets for 19 new store openings.
  • Acted as Interim Financial Manager supporting two Financial Planners (10/2006-2/2007).




Allocator                                                                                                                                                    02/2000-02/2001


  • Developed new processes for reporting, planning, and analyzing the results of a $40MM division by researching


       trends, competitors, and best practices.


  • Created and managed a budget for 75 stores.
  • Reviewed detailed class buy plan by vendor to ensure fit to department strategy and market.
  • Resolved significant performance issues with over 30 vendors.
  • Promoted from Financial Buyer position January 2000.
  • Held various roles within Buying and Finance departments March 1991-January 2000.






TEXAS CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY, Fort Worth, TX                                                                         


Bachelor of Business Administration, Finance               






Computer Skills:        


  • Excel, Oracle MFP, JDA Arthur Merchandise Planning, SAS iPlan, Microstrategy, Profit Logic, Inforem, Business Objects, Celerant, Word, and PowerPoint.