Susan Cantalupo, Crate & Barrel, Product Manager, Bakeware, Ovenware, Cutlery, Tools & Kitchen Textiles

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.

Susan Cantalupo, Crate & Barrel, Product Manager, Bakeware, Ovenware, Cutlery, Tools & Kitchen Textiles 

Crate & Barrel and its buyers are focused on providing customers with a seamless shopping experience with its in-store, catalog and e-commerce initiatives. The retailer’s merchandising presentation emphasizes a consistent mix featured in an inspirational and informative way.

According to housewares vendors, Susan Cantalupo, Crate & Barrel’s product manager for several categories including bakeware, ovenware, cutlery, tools and kitchen textiles, successfully navigates both the retailer’s signature merchandising formula and the vendor community.

In addition, Cantalupo’s work ethic and housewares product knowledge make her stand out compared with other buyers, vendors said.

“We enjoy working with Cantalupo because she is well-versed in visual merchandising and does a wonderful job with assortment planning,” said one vendor.

Part of the retailer’s cross merchandising lifestyle focus is to pair up home goods that work well together in a variety of different categories, so shoppers can visualize how the products cohesively work together in the home. This approach allows Crate & Barrel to take advantage of add-on sales in kitchenware. Vendors noted that Cantalupo’s expertise and housewares savvy helps her optimally merchandise goods together in an array of ways, from color treatments to sets with pricepoint diversity.

Vendors also praised Cantalupo as a true professional who is easy to work with. “She provides feedback, shares ideas and creates an overall environment for discussion that leads to better outcomes for all involved,” said one supplier.

2016 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchants (click on name for profile):