The July 18 issue of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® features the 17th 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 18 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.
Joan Haney, Kroger, Gadgets, Cutlery, Cutting Boards and Bakeware Buyer
Kroger continues to grow and cross promote its kitchenware and cutlery mix across its grocery and department store retail banners. Vendors point to Joan Haney, the retailer’s gadgets, cutlery, cutting boards and bakeware buyer, as a capable merchandising leader who oversees the supermarket’s kitchenware program growth.
Haney has been recognized by suppliers for playing a critical role in their increased gadgets and cutlery presence across Kroger’s platforms. Some kitchenware vendors reported that they have seen substantial growth year over year as Kroger has expanded through regional acquisitions and bolstered its e-commerce, which have benefited the retailer’s core grocery mix as well as kitchen tool categories.
Vendors also praised the commitment of Kroger to adding branded kitchenware to its supermarket housewares departments, noting that Haney has played a key role in developing supporting initiatives for value and branded assortments.
In the traditional Kroger supermarket, kitchenware is merchandised with food or promoted from a seasonal perspective on end-cap displays and in other cross-merchandised settings. Under Fred Meyer, kitchenware gets its own territory on the selling floor, with planograms designed to feature a better/best brand assortment.
While gadgets, cutlery and other housewares have benefited from adjacencies in grocery merchandising, vendors said that what distinguishes Haney as a merchant leader is an openness to testing new kitchenware brands and innovative specialty tools. This is a key trait in a competitive field, which helps Haney, and Kroger, stand apart.
2016 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchants (click on name for profile):
- Bob Couch, Shopko
- Lance Allen, Home Depot
- Paul Casey, Groupon
- Melissa Gaeto, Sur La Table
- Michelle Rado, Costco
- Erica Price, Wayfair
- Joan Haney, Kroger
- Gregg Smith, The Cook’s Warehouse
- Sara Stuckert, Kohl’s
- Dallas Dobbs, Walmart
- Shawn Austin, Macy’s
- Melissa Cameron, Tuesday Morning
- Chris Kutil, Bon-Ton
- Susan Cantalupo, Crate & Barrel
- Alex Ogof, Bed Bath & Beyond
- Michael Beltrami, Cutlery And More
- John Gehre, H-E-B
- Diana Wilf, Gracious Home