In order to buy merchandise for resale to the consumer efficiently, the retail buyer must consider economic factors as well as the potential investment returns of the merchandise. A merchandise investment returns knowledge base, called MIR, is developed on the basis of the perceptions of an expert buyer. MIR incorporates an expert buyer's knowledge of men’s wear in regard to the relationship between economic factors, the economic outlook, and merchandise investment returns. MIR is implemented in an object-oriented, multiwindow, menu-driven environment to facilitate further system expansion. The long-term goal of the approach is to integrate the MIR knowledge base with related applications to support decision making throughout the life cycle of different classifications of merchandise.