Archived Hardlines TM to Softlines TL Any and all tips please. :)

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I've been a Hardlines TM for several years. After going o/n and being a co-captain to a successful transition with the Plano TL, I was offered Softlines TL. My dept is kids. I know nothing about Softlines, ESP. being a TL there. I would love any and all advice from TM's to TL's tips from folding, doing rack alignment, hanging, visual adjacencies, to more detailed TL knowledge. My main goal is learning the do's and don'ts so I can apply my HL experience with my new position.
 
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mrknownothing

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The only areas in softlines that are anything like hardlines are shoes and infant hardlines. Other areas? Good luck.
 
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My career at Target began in Hardlines (TM), moved to Instocks, then Hardlines TL, quit, came back as instocks, and when I promoted again I went to Softlines TL. I was completely lost at first.

SL is nothing like HL. What you have to realize is that there is nearly nothing other than shoes and infant gondolas that is like HL in any way. SL is about creative merchandising. It's like PTM from the get go.

For visual adjacencies, if you don't have all the pictured product, create what you can from the VA as best you can, and if you don't have the product, flex something similar if you can. If you don't have the Girls sweaters to go on a quad with the dressy skirts, don't flex a sweatshirt... flex a dressy top. Bottoms go on bottoms, tops go on tops. It's pretty simple, just a completely different way of thinking than hardlines. ALWAYS notate what you did and why on the VA. When in doubt, just look at the merchandising you've created and ask, "Does this make sense from a shopping standpoint?" You're merchandising for the guest. Would they buy those shorts with that top? when it comes down to it, that's what you're there to do. Create a visually pleasing display that will make guests buy stuff.

Rack alignment can be tough. There's almost never a time in my store when there are the correct number of racks in any department. Basically, I count the racks along the main isle in the VA going on direction, and compare to how many I have on my actual floorpad. In my store, I usual have an entire extra row of racks, and I space them as evenly as I can from there. Corners can be tough, but as long as you have straight lines and brand blocks make sense, you should be ok. Always notate rack alignment changes on your VA map and be ready to explain what you did. From there, I determine which are flex racks, and where I can put those in a way that makes sense. If you end up with racks that are half and half, make sure those are on the edge of your brand block. For example, in Girls, if you have a flex rack with unpictured product that is half Circo and half Cherokee, put it on the edge of your Cherokee brand block. If you have to split racks between brands, ALWAYS keep one whole side one brand.

Folding is just practice. Just do it a lot, and ask for tips from people that have been doing it longer.

As far as hanging zone, I usually start my zone with all the racks and tables around the outside of the floorpad. Everything facing the main isle. That way if we have to call the zone or cut hours short at night, they perimeter will not be a guest distraction. I use my arm to hang product on if the rack is overfull, so I can zone half the arm/faceout and size it before adding the rest. It ends up cleaner that way. In general with my zones at night, I go through and pick up all the stuff on the floor (primarily from clearance racks first), then do the perimeter, and work in like concentric circles from there.

TL Knowledge: just know your area. What are the opportunities? Are the night TMs zoning well? If not, why? Are VAs getting done? Why or why not? Is the overnight/flow team putting your freight where you need them to? Why or why not? Do you have a lot of backstock hanging in the steel? Why/why not? Don't lose sight of the big picture. Figure out what your wins are, who to recognize (brand TMs, exceptional performers, etc) and where your opportunities are (problem performers, lack of training for yourself or others, etc), and how to move forward. Do not be afraid to partner with your ETL, and don't be afraid to take risks. Just use common sense. It's about getting the hang of it, and being able to have confidence and figure out where you fit in the total store picture. Roll with the punches and you'll be just fine.

I hope that helped. If you have any questions, I'm a PM away.
 
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