Ashlee Cook, Ulta Beauty, Brand Manager

The July 23 issue of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® features the 19th annual Impact Merchants special report. Housewares suppliers, representing the categories that HomeWorld covers, once again were asked to nominate buyers and merchandisers believed to have made a significant impact during the past year.

The selection of the 19 Impact Merchant winners is not intended as a definitive list of the best merchants in housewares retailing. Votes went to several more merchandisers than those featured. This year’s honorees represent buyers in given categories that received the majority of votes by vendors polled.

Voters were asked to give added weight to merchandising creativity, trend and marketing astuteness, attention to detail, openness to risk, flexibility, relationship building and the ability to deliver a profitable program for both the vendors and retailer while providing value to consumers. One thing this year’s Impact Merchants share is a vote of respect by their vendors. In today’s unpredictable retail environment, that vote really counts.

Ashlee Cook, Ulta Beauty, Brand Manager

As some brick-and-mortar retailers have struggled to grow in the face of a changing retail landscape, Ulta Beauty has experienced exponential growth in recent years. It is the retailer’s multi-pronged omnichannel approach to business that has supported growth, including its product assortment, the in-store experience, e-commerce and its robust customer loyalty program.

According to vendors, the beauty retailer’s expansive product assortment, which spans more than 20,000 products across all categories and pricepoints including its own private label program, has remained one key factor in the retailer’s success.

The retailer’s broad product assortment and myriad pricepoints has also reached outside demographics typically targeted by specialty beauty retailers, vendors noted, and allows the retailer to reach a broader customer base ranging from Millennials to those over the age of 50.

As the retailer continues to grow its product assortments within the personal care and beauty categories, vendors have lauded Ashlee Cook, brand manager, Ulta Beauty Collection, as a key buyer for the category.

“Ashlee looks ahead for the next innovation to keep the assortment on trend and appealing to the consumer,” said one vendor.

It is this attention to detail that has led to Cook’s recognition as a HOMEWORLD BUSINESS®2018 Impact Merchant.

Vendors also praised Cook’s great sense of style and attention to detail, assuring that a completed product and overall assortment has a prestige look designed to monetize consumer spending.

In addition, vendors praised Cook’s exceptional communication as a key differentiator within the category. “This streamlines the product development process to keep projects on schedule and without errors,” said one vendor.

2018 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchants (click on name for profile):