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Function documentation Merchandise Category: Merchandise Category Hierarchies Locate the document in its SAP Library structure


Each article is assigned to only one merchandise category. This assignment is valid throughout the company. Merchandise categories can be grouped into merchandise category hierarchy levels. Merchandise category hierarchy levels can, in turn, be assigned to higher hierarchy levels.

The result is a merchandise category hierarchy. This structure makes it easier to monitor and control the activities of your company and reduces the volume of data (for example, condition data) that has to be maintained. In addition, the merchandise category hierarchy structure enables descriptive and variant-creating characteristics (for example, color or size) to be inherited by subordinate levels from superior levels.


Each merchandise category can be assigned to one merchandise category hierarchy level. An unlimited number of hierarchy levels is possible. In a merchandise category hierarchy, the merchandise category to which articles are directly assigned always represents the lowest merchandise category hierarchy level.

All the elements in the merchandise category hierarchy are defined as classes, or to be more specific, as objects of SAP-internal class type 026. The graphic below illustrates the hierarchical relationships and the assignments which are possible in class type 026 (merchandise category hierarchy):

This graphic is explained in the accompanying text

The dotted line indicates that you can also assign articles or generic articles of your choice to a characteristics profile. This is usually only necessary if variant-creating characteristics, which are used when generic articles and their variants are created, are to be defined in more detail than the characteristics at merchandise category level.

Characteristics profiles are used solely as carriers of specific characteristic values for creating articles and variants. They have no other purpose in SAP Retail. They are neither carriers of other information nor do they play a part in the Logistics or Retail Information System.

The following example helps illustrate the merchandise category hierarchy structure:


SAP Term



Merchandise category hierarchy level 3

Assortment area

Non food

Merchandise category hierarchy level 2

Assortment group

Household goods

Merchandise category hierarchy level 1

Main merchandise category

Small electrical appliances

Merchandise category hierarchy level 0
(Merchandise category)

Merchandise category

Kitchen gadgets

Characteristics profile 1


Electric knife

The following terms are used in merchandise category hierarchies:

Further hierarchy levels (merchandise groupings) can be created above the merchandise category level. Every merchandise category hierarchy level is assigned to precisely one superior hierarchy level. There is, therefore, always an x:1 relationship between lower hierarchy levels and the level above.

Merchandise category hierarchy levels allow you to process sales at levels above the merchandise category level, if required. At merchandise category hierarchy level too, target and actual values can be planned and evaluations can be made in the Information System.

The complete merchandise category hierarchy is made up of all the assignments or relationships between the individual merchandise category levels and comprises the full spectrum of inter-dependencies and validation checks.

Below the level of the merchandise category (and therefore below the whole merchandise category hierarchy) it is possible to create characteristics profiles, a finer subdivision of the merchandise category. They generally serve to differentiate the parameters (required fields, variant-creating characteristics etc.) set when new generic articles, variants or single articles are created.

Any number of characteristics profiles can be created and they can be valid for more than one merchandise category. The characteristics profile is the only object in the merchandise category hierarchy for which such multiple assignments are possible. Each article must be assigned to precisely one merchandise category and can also be assigned to a characteristics profile.
If a characteristics profile exists, it takes precedence over the more general structure of the merchandise category when an article (or generic article) is created.

The ratio for characteristics profile and merchandise category is n:m (m = multiple).


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