What does a Principal Category Manager do?

Category managers work in the retail world where they find, market, and evaluate products and merchandise for companies. They review products, evaluate suppliers, and develop merchandising initiatives with vendors and suppliers. They work in various retail establishments, including clothing, or food, and examine the aspects of merchandising. This could include the evaluation of supplies or maintenance of levels of inventory

Category managers research current trends and a company’s selling philosophies to procure the best merchandise for the lowest cost; they also assist with the development of selling strategies, product marketing, and sales support. Category managers need fluency with marketing, sales, and supply chain management and must be equal parts creative and analytical when making decisions. Category managers need a minimum bachelor's degree in supply chain management, finance, or business administration; some employers favor an MBA.

What responsibilities are common for Principal Category Manager jobs?
  • Identify and build strategic relationships with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Work with support teams to ensure accurate order information.
  • Build market/retailer network to maintain trend and product awareness.
  • Represent purchasing in new product development projects as an active team member.
  • Regularly interact with managers, VPs and SVPs internally and externally.
  • Support development of market insights from cross-client sourcing activity and collaborate with TS&E Practice advisors to develop content that enables knowledge sharing across the organization.
  • Manage content processes, oversee/partner with COE or agency content production requirements.
  • Develop and approve recommendations to change systems, policies, and procedures. ensure timely and accurate implementation.
  • Manage category resources, ensuring organizational efficiency through appropriate motivation, training, and development of direct report(s).
  • Strong participation in the budgeting, operating business plans, and monthly business reviews.
  • Infuse market insights into the sourcing process on projects within categories of expertise.
  • Engage with prospective clients during business development pursuits through support of contract assessments, client due diligence calls, and presenting the practice delivery approach and case studies.
  • Understand, comply with and attest to the security responsibilities and security controls unique to their.
  • Own product launches end-to-end new from sourcing, go-to-market strategy, execution to commercialization.
  • Understand costs, cost planning and analysis to support cost reductions, cost negotiations, parts strategy and supplier strategy.
  • Partner with account leadership and regional delivery leads to drive such cost reduction initiatives into the accounts.
  • Identify key insights and translate into actionable recommendations.
  • Develop plans and priorities for the team to ensure activities are focused on achieving department goals.
  • Work collaboratively with SEE cross-functional team and selected suppliers on project implementation.
What are the typical qualifications for Principal Category Manager jobs?
  • Bachelor's or Graduate's Degree in business, business administration, computer science or engineering, or equivalent experience.
  • Experience with R Language, RFP/RFI, and CPIM software and processes.
  • Attention to detail and dedication to continuous improvement.
  • Prior experience as a consultant.
  • Demonstrated eloquence and critical thinking skills.
  • Confident with decision making and project moderating.
  • A leader with collaboration and problem solving.
  • Demonstrated negotiation skills.
  • Fluency with statistics and enterprise resource planning.
EducationGraduate Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.5 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.6 ★
Avg. Experience--

Principal Category Manager Salaries

Average Base Pay

$84,608 /yr
Same as national average
Not including cash compensation
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Not enough salaries reported to show distribution
Median: $85K
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Glassdoor Estimated Salary

Principal Category Manager Career Path

Learn how to become a Principal Category Manager, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Principal Category Manager
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Principal Category Manager Insights

Read what Principal Category Manager professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Associate Category Manager
Jan 14, 2021

“We work a lot of late nights and this does not provide a good work life balance.”

Pristyn CarePristyn Care
Category Manager
Aug 29, 2020

“I started by journey as a BDM here and I have got ample opportunities to grow here.”

Category Buying Manager
Oct 3, 2020

“historically they had good progression but reality is now its not a long term career path”

Category Manager
Oct 16, 2021

“Be sure to negotiate a good package because you wont have a work life balance.”

Micron TechnologyMicron Technology
Senior Category Manager
May 3, 2021

“Good benefit and working hour is acceptable”

AVP- Category Management
Oct 11, 2021

“Good Pay and Good Brand”

Bharti AirtelBharti Airtel
Category Ownerns/Head/Group Head
Apr 11, 2022

“Internal job posting for greater avenues for career growth within organization and not just within one's own vertical”

Senior Category Manager
Feb 12, 2021

“PTO and Corporate Holidays are good.”

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Principal Category Manager Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of a Principal Category Manager

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Principal Category Manager jobs