Harry Jacobs, HomeGoods, Buyer

The July 17 issue of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® features the 18th 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 20 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.

Harry Jacobs, HomeGoods, Buyer

Merchants jumping from job to job and retailer to retailer are commonplace. But Harry Jacobs is an anomaly.

With a retail career dating back to the early 1970s, Jacobs, currently a home products buyer with TJX/Home Goods, has spent time with only two retailers. He broke into the world of retail buying in 1972 with Jordan Marsh, and 20 years later changed jobs to join TJX.

His deep knowledge of retail and home products continues to serve Jacobs well, and this year his vendors nominated him as an Impact Merchant honoree.

Labeled as “one of the true experts in housewares” by one vendor, Jacobs is said to not rest on his laurels and considerable knowledge base. Product suppliers that work with Jacobs say his thirst for knowledge and learning what’s new have not waned.

“Harry is always trying to learn something new,” said one product supplier. “His product instincts are among the strongest in the industry, but he is more interested in what the consumer tells him every day.”

Others tout Jacobs as a tough negotiator, but one who is a consummate professional who takes quick action and always honors his deals.

The TJX brands— most notably HomeGoods— have been in the forefront of much retail conversation in recent years. As other retailers have struggled to deal with the growth of e-commerce and changing consumer shopping habits, TJX has thrived in all categories, including housewares. And with the HomeSense brand launching in the U.S. soon, Jacobs could be soon facing his next challenge.

2017 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchants (click on name for profile):