Retail Math & the Class Syllabus

It’s getting closer to the start of the Fall semester, and I’ve begun thinking about classes again.  For me, that means putting together my syllabi and class calendars.  Since I don’t make homework assignments part of my syllabi and I keep the class points fairly vague, my various syllabi don’t change too much from semester to semester.  The fact is, most of my changes revolve around my class calendar.

When it comes to adding retail math into a traditional Retail Strategy class calendar, I’ve found that there are two typical approaches.  The first is to approach retail math as a separate module, covering all of the topics in a 2-3 week span.  This is the approach I tend to use, and I fit the retail math topics into my class calendar right after merchandising.  I find that it works best for me to cover all of the math at once, allowing me to more easily explanation the inter-connectedness of the different measurements.

Excerpt from my class calendar:
Week 9
Customer Relationship Management
Private Labels
Week 10
Merchandise Management
Week 11
Category Management
Exam 3
Week 12
Retail Math – Volume Bucket
Retail Math – Profit Bucket
Week 13
Retail Math – Profit Bucket continued
Retail Math – Asset Efficiency Bucket
Week 14
Retail Math – Scorecards

My co-author, Charles Halliburton, favors the second approach.  He prefers spreading the retail math measurements throughout the semester utilizing them to illustrate how different marketing and merchandising decisions impact the company in a financial way.  With his background in retail merchandising and finance, he is able to use multiple real life examples to tie the topics together.

Both approaches are equally valid, and valuable.  If you’re willing to share, I would love to hear how you approach fitting this information into your semester.


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