Gillian McDonald, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Category Merchant

The July 22 issue of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® features the 20th 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 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.

Gillian McDonald, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Category Merchant

When walking the housewares aisles of a BJ’s Wholesale Club, the retailer remains focused on offering its shoppers a branded product assortment that is focused on current day hot products that are priced at a value.

At the heart of this effort is Gillian McDonald, a 2019 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchant. With oversight of key housewares categories such as kitchen electrics and cookware, suppliers who nominated McDonald said she is able to see beyond personal preferences as she creates an assortment that is well-tailored to the BJ’s customer.

Vendors also laud McDonald for her ability to be responsive and sharp minded as she juggles several categories and a broad range of product suppliers.

While food is the driver of sales at BJ’s, the retailer in its clubs positions its assortment of food preparation products adjacent to its consumables. This puts housewares such as kitchen electrics, cookware and other food prep items within close proximity of shoppers as the walk the meat, dairy and produce aisles, which provides the potential for add-on sales with housewares.

In addition to BJ’s in-store assortment of kitchen electrics and housewares products, the retailer provides its customers additional products through its e-commerce selection. Here, the company stays true to its philosophy seen at the store level.

While other retailers use their dot-coms as an endless shelf of products, BJ’s offers an edited assortment of products online that builds off what is offered in store, but maintains the high-value proposition that the retailer is known for.

Looking ahead, as the wholesale club chain continues moving forward with its transformation project, how the housewares assortment evolves will be closely watched by vendors within housewares.

2019 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchants (click on name for profile):

Debbie Hom, Pottery Barn

Cindy Koller Villari, Macy’s

Wendy Altamura, Wegmans

Deb Danielson, Target

Desirae Montgomery, Costco

Sunipa Kreuzer, Crate & Barrel

Adam Gregory, Target

Mark Callahan, QVC

Angela Skogen, Cooks On Main

Brandi Stone, H-E-B

Chrissie Puchta, Wayfair

Carolyn Feuer, Office Depot

Steven D’Iorio, HomeGoods

Jeremy Couey, Walmart

Czarina Tse, CVS

Kristin Bates-Ashton, Costco

John Jansen, Southeastern Grocers

Dan Willman, Best Buy

Leah Postema, Meijer

Gillian McDonald, BJ’s Wholesale Club