Jason Kloster, Walmart, Senior Buyer, Personal Care

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.

Jason Kloster, Walmart, Senior Buyer, Personal Care

While personal care has been impacted by changing consumer preferences, vendors touted Walmart’s senior personal care buyer, Jason Kloster, for his ability to weather the storm.

“Jason has been hit hard by the razor blade decline like all shave buyers, but he has partnered with vendors to help make up the gap of the declining razor blade business,” said one vendor.

Personal care vendors noted Kloster’s ability to form meaningful relationships with the supplier community and his ability to create distinctive merchandising opportunities. This dedication to the cultivation of success has allowed him to “grow his share of beard trimmers over the past year,” one vendor noted.

It is this dedication to growing the personal care category that has won praise from vendors, and has led Kloster to be recognized as a 2017 Impact Merchant.

Kloster has held several positions as a buyer for Walmart since 2005. Through successful merchandising strategies and category growth, he was named to his current position as senior personal care buyer in 2014.

According to one vendor, Kloster, recognizing a potential growth opportunity, was able to “create the ultimate upsell by placing a touch and learn freestanding unit” of one of the company’s higher end appliances into several thousand Walmart store locations.

“This new concept took up no shopping space and has netted over a 20% increase in point of sales compared to the products around it,” the vendor said. As the highest priced appliance in the personal care set, it helped step customers up and helped create the market share gain, the vendor noted.

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