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Category Manager

Category Manager

Job ID 
Position Type 
Permanent Full-Time
UK-London, Finchley (Global Headquarters)
Category Management

More information about this job





LACOSTE is above all a legend


The legend of a fantastic tennis player, René Lacoste, a member of the famous French "Musketeers" Davis Cup Team and a star of the courts at Wimbledon, Forest Hills and Roland Garros.


The true story of "the Crocodile" dates back to 1927. René Lacoste liked to recount how this nickname came about and ultimately became a brand of worldwide renown.


“I was nicknamed "the Crocodile" by the American press, after I made a bet with the captain of the French Davis Cup Team. The public must have been fond of this nickname which conveyed the tenacity I displayed on the tennis courts, never letting go of my prey.”


In 1933, René Lacoste founded a company to manufacture the perfect tennis shirt. The original “1212” pique polo shirt featured the now legendary embroidered crocodile on the left breast - Lacoste was born and revolutionised sportswear and branding within sport.


Pentland is the name behind some of the world’s best sports, outdoor and fashion brands.


We own Berghaus, Canterbury of New Zealand, Speedo, Boxfresh, Ellesse, KangaROOS, Mitre, Prostar and Red or Dead. We are also the global licensee for Lacoste Chaussures and Ted Baker footwear, the UK licensee for Kickers, and are shareholders in other companies such as Hunter, Butterfly Twists, Heidi Klein and Tracksmith.


We’re a third-generation, family-owned business – and we retain strong family values. We care about people, and that’s what drives our day-to-day work. This year the Great Place to Work® Institute recognised Pentland Brands the 11th Best Workplace in the UK and the 16th Best Workplace in Europe. Our global headquarters is in the UK and we employ 2,000 people across 20 countries around the world.


We believe that doing business the right way, with respect for people and the environment, is essential for ensuring our long-term sustainability - generation after generation. The Pentland values are at the heart of what we do and how we interact with the world around us.



In 1991 Pentland became the worldwide licensee for Lacoste footwear and in 2018 the two will come together to leverage the global reach of both brands for the growth of this iconic brand.


The JV aims to be renowned for its premium quality and innovative footwear, with an emphasis on sports-influenced styles.


Key Purpose of Job:


A leader in the development of medium-long term category strategy that drives brand growth in key categories, markets & retailers. 


This role is critical in the planning and execution of consumer-led ranges that are compelling to our shareholders, partners, retailers and shoppers and deliver against our brands commercial targets, strategic priorities and brand positioning.



  • A senior manager and role-model within the brand’s product team.
  • Highlight opportunities for growth within the category as part of the brand planning process to support the building of an achievable brand strategy.
  • Accountable for delivering all category KPIS and for driving top line sales & productivity.
  • Determine range roadmap and product solutions that deliver the brand strategy.
  • Accountable for creating the annual & seasonal plans including range architecture, SCO count & productivity, product mix, product segmentation and margin to meet agreed brand objectives
  • Propose appropriate range architecture and pricing strategy based on a deep understanding of the consumer and competitor landscape, product and feature benchmarking and brand strategy.
  • Manage product lifecycle and churn levels to deliver agreed commercial and brand KPIs.
  • Own the creation of market trend analysis for assigned category and work closely with the design function to feed it in the relevant information.
  • Deploy detailed briefs to the design function incorporating target consumer, trend insight, competitor analysis, target retail price and distribution
  • Establish assortment plans by store type which gives clear product direction
  • Identify market opportunity and consumer need for innovation and NPD and feed into the brand planning process.  Brief and work with the Pentland Innovation team to build commercially feasible solutions that support and deliver brand plans
  • Work closely with the marketing function to propose seasonal assortments and alignment of product & marketing consumer propositions.
  • Manage key stakeholders, working closely with equivalent levels within Lacoste Paris to gain product sign off & alignment to the Brand direction
  • Present seasonal ranges at regional & international conferences, ensuring the presentation environment befits the Brand & range
  • Ownership and adherence for all category related milestones throughout the concept to launch critical path.
  • Showroom management- responsibility for aesthetic of seasonal ranges and work space.
  • Ownership of category travel & budgets
  • Operate effectively in a matrix structure, working closely with key functional teams.



Needs to have

  • Extensive category experience and understanding of the broader market the brand sits in.
  • Strong understanding and appreciation of the end to end concept-to-consumer (C2C) process.
  • Strong understanding of how to gain and translate consumer needs into product.
  • Experience in leading and developing teams of product managers, managing cross-functional matrix teams and working / collaborating effectively across a matrixed business.
  • Demonstrable success within category management roles.
  • Proven ability to propose, implement and deliver mid-term strategic initiatives.
  • Proven influencing skills at all levels of the business and especially with cross functional teams.
  • Previous experience in footwear if possible 

Needs to be


  • Able to create buy-in, support and belief in their plans within the organisation.
  • Capable of working and behaving in a way that is true to the Brand’s principles.
  • Curious; quick to identify trends and patterns; always looking for ways to improve category performance.
  • Driven to exceed expectations, a self-starter and self-motivator.
  • Perceived as credible and an expert in their area with an ability to challenge upwards and across functions to drive initiatives through to completion.
  • Strongly analytical, solution driven and result oriented; able to consider both the bigger picture and scrutinise detail when necessary;
  • Excellent in presentation and interpersonal skills.  Able to convey complex issues simply and communicate with conviction and awareness of functional, cultural and regional differences.
  • Fashion conscious, trend spotter/setter, directional fashion flare tamed with commercial sense.