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Rachel Tsupros, Senior Category Manager, Tabletop, Wayfair

As the housewares industry collectively navigated the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic presented, the relationship between vendor and retailer was more critical than ever. Buyers that were able to step in and help vendors navigate the uncertainty became a welcomed partner. Rachel Tsupros, senior category manager, tabletop, at Wayfair is one of those partners and for that, she has been named a 2020 HOMEWORLD BUSINESS Impact Merchant.

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Taylor Martinez, Assistant Buyer, Costco

Costco is known as a go-to destination for consumers looking to stock up on everything from food to floor care, and a relatively new assistant buyer, Taylor Martinez, is attracting attention in the home environment and personal care appliance categories.

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Jeff Branz, Senior Category Manager, Wayfair

The past few months have been exciting for Wayfair and Jeff Branz has been a critical part of the team that has helped the company meet customer needs for furniture during a period in the business when addressing their homes was very much an immediate consideration.

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Sarah Dipietro, Omni Buyer, Fine & Casual China, Dinnerware, Outdoor & Table Linens, Macy’s

Sarah Dipietro quickly gained a reputation as a creative partner after stepping into her role at Macy’s as omni buyer for dinnerware in mid-2018. Most recently, she took on the casual china department at the retailer as well and was noted for her swift and focused diligence amid the COVID pandemic. For these and other reasons, Dipietro has been named a 2020 HOMEWORLD BUSINESS Impact Merchant.

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Ryan Yarnell, Buyer, Housewares, Meijer

According to vendors polled by HOMEWORLD BUSINESS, Ryan Yarnell, housewares buyer at Meijer, has been critical to successes with the Meijer brand because of his relationship building as well as his focus on creating sales opportunities even when one may not be obvious. These and other attributes have landed him to a spot on the list of 2020 Impact Merchants.

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The Toughest Test For 2020 Impact Merchants

As it became clearer in March that retailing, an already fickle business in the e-commerce age, was in for a new disruption of immeasurable enormity and consequence, it also became clearer vendor-buyer relations, already confrontational at times, were about to be tested like never before.

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A Work In Progress

After nearly three months of working from home, it is a welcome relief to begin the first phase of a return to offices for the HomeWorld Business team.

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Retail Champions 2020: Walmart

BENTONVILLE, AR— It would be tough to find a retailer better suited to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic as it has rolled across the U.S. than Walmart, and the retailer is almost certainly going to come out of the crisis stronger and more capable.

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Retail Champions 2020: Target

MINNEAPOLIS— Target has enjoyed success over the past couple of decades as it became a true national mid-market omnichannel retailer, and even if it has struggled at times through that period, the company may have gotten itself in just the right position to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak and post-pandemic environment.

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Retail Champions 2020: Kroger

CINCINNATI— Kroger is entering a new phase in its development influenced by the coronavirus crisis but with deeper roots and a definite vision of a future when the company will have more ways to engage consumers.

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Retail Champions 2020: Home Depot

ATLANTA— Home Depot has experienced some tailwinds through the buffets of the COVID-19 pandemic, as experienced by the home center/hardware channel, that should position it to maintain momentum through the next stages of recovery from the crisis.

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Retail Champions 2020: Costco

ISSAQUAH, WA— The COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. drove consumers to Costco as a place to stock up on food and household essentials, but images of consumers driving wagon loads of groceries, paper towels and other necessary products out of its warehouse clubs don’t provide the whole picture.

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Retail Champions 2020: Amazon

SEATTLE— Amazon is likely to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic with the most gained as consumers become more reliant on online shopping, the channel it leads, but the company also has been, in many ways, the most challenged retailer in the U.S. as a tidal wave of sales has threatened to overwhelm its systems and its high profile has made it a target of scrutiny.

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