Ernie Herrman, TJX Companies

homeworld players herrmanThe August 15 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 11th Annual “Players,” people to watch in housewares during the next 12 months.

Selected by HomeWorld Business editors, the Players represent a cross section of a diverse housewares business— from established to newly installed company leaders; from large to small operations, from big-box to specialty retailers; from trade show managers to celebrity endorsers.

The HomeWorld Players are in the spotlight not only for how they might impact their respective organizations in the coming months, but also for how they might impact the overall housewares business.

Ernie Herrman, TJX Companies, CEO

PLAYER’S CREDENTIALS: Ernie Herrman has had a long career at TJX. Early this year, he was named CEO, succeeding Carol Meyrowitz, who cited his successful track record, strategic vision, discipline and focus as key reasons for his promotion. He already was a TJX board member and, since 2011, president of the company. Prior to that, he had been senior executive vp, group president, with responsibility for The Marmaxx Group, consisting of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, HomeGoods and TJX Canada. In 2005, he had succeeded Meyrowitz as Marmaxx president.

WHAT TO WATCH: Although TJX posted a strong first quarter, Herrman’s challenge is to follow success with success. The challenge won’t necessarily be easy. The main TJX formats are well established in markets where they have been best accepted. Many, such as HomeGoods, have room to grow, but other retailers are beginning to emulate the off-price style that TJX has mastered, such as discount store operators who have converted some domestic goods segments from permanent to close out operations. Other retailers are developing dedicated off-price outlets to cash in on the bargain hunting instinct of even affluent shoppers, such as Nordstrom Rack. Recently, Macy’s joined the fray with Backstage, which overlaps TJX concepts such as Marshalls and T.J. Maxx in terms of target shoppers.

Herrman also faces the challenge of e-commerce. TJX has tried, backed away from and again began flirting with e-commerce without developing a focused strategy. With competition becoming more significant in the real and virtual world, Herrman will have to demonstrate how TJX will keep comparable store sales and overall profits solid as the core business in the U.S. matures.

PERSPECTIVE: In the company’s first quarter conference call, Herrman stated, “Across our businesses, we remain laser-focused on offering shoppers an always changing mix of exciting merchandise and values. We are constantly opening new vendors and offering consumers new brands.”

2017 HomeWorld Business Players (click on name for profile):