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.
Brittany Aluce, Kohl’s, Tabletop Buyer
Recently, Kohl’s has tested a number of new initiatives in order to drive traffic in-store and online. Part of those initiatives has been to on-board “amazing product,” according to the retailer, and the tabletop category enjoys a significant amount of floor space to merchandise that product.
In-store, the retailer particularly focuses on dinnerware and glassware, and while its proprietary Food Network brand dominates the in-store assortment, its e-commerce assortment includes a much wider array of brands.
Vendors have lauded the retailer for “thinking outside the box” when it comes to on-boarding new trends and styles evolving within the category, and much of that forward thinking rests on the shoulders of its buyers.
Brittany Aluce, tabletop buyer at Kohl’s, has been touted by vendors as a “subject matter expert in her category who is constantly seeking to learn and explore areas of opportunities to drive growth.”
“Brittany thinks outside of the box, is a collaborative partner and works together to solve challenges and create opportunities,” said one vendor. “She is not afraid to test and try something new, yet always provides metrics and parameters to gauge success.”
This approach to the buying process and tabletop category has led to Aluce being named a HomeWorld Business 2018 Impact Merchant.
Vendors also noted that Aluce approaches her position with communication in mind, acting with a sense of urgency in all areas and responding quickly, while also expecting the same of her vendor partners.
Vendors also noted the importance of working as a team, and commended Aluce’s ability to work within the Kohl’s team infrastructure successfully. “At Kohl’s, the planning teams are tied at the hip with the buyer, and Brittany is fortunate to have a very strong team. She leads the team with a ‘win as one’ approach,” said one vendor.
2018 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchants (click on name for profile):
- Kirsten Quatromoni, HomeGoods
- Robert Wilburn, The Home Depot
- Dan Weiland, Menards
- Chris Etheridge, Conn’s
- Kevin Lubelczyk, Wayfair
- Cory Ellis, Kroger
- Kim Kimbriel, The Container Store
- Bill Nadel, Bed Bath & Beyond
- Becky Blake, Walmart
- Ashlee Cook, Ulta Beauty
- Amy Neuman, Kohl’s
- Michael Wolpert, Macy’s
- Harry Jacobs, HomeGoods
- LaToya Jackson, At Home
- Zoran Todorovic, Walmart
- Joe Hufford, J.L. Hufford
- Brittany Aluce, Kohl’s
- Allison McPartland, Wayfair
- Chris Gridley, DD’s Discounts