Hailed as the ‘pride of British retail’ by the judges, and applauded for his passion for the industry, Primark CEO Paul Merchant was crowned The Clarity Retail Leader of the Year before 1,300 peers at the 24th annual Retail Week Awards sponsored by Salesforce in London recently.
Ann Summers CEO Jaqueline Gold picked up Retail Activist of the Year for her work with the government in championing gender equality, small businesses and for being a vocal and inspirational advocate for women in business. The Co-op was awarded the The Hermes Global Impact Award for The Co-op Way. Retail Activist of the Year and The Hermes Global Impact Award are two brand new categories for Retail Week Awards 2019.
Julian Richer, founder of Richer Sounds, was also recognised with The AlixPartners Outstanding Contribution to Retail with Retail Week executive editor George MacDonald commenting: “When choosing a winner for this award, we look for an ambassadorial contribution on behalf of the whole industry. Julian is a huge success story and one that epitomises all that is good about this sector. He is a very worthy winner.”
Picking up two Retail Week Awards to add to its trophy cabinet tonight was Aldi, winning Best Grocer and The American Express Best Own-Brand Range for its Mamia baby product range, which has taken the market by storm.
One of the judges commented: “With its Mamia range, Aldi has focused in on a market segment and nailed it. It’s created something pretty impressive in a very crowded landscape, against very stiff competition.”
British family-run jeweller Beaverbrooks also walked away with two awards, landing the coveted The Dell Technologies Best Place to Work and Community Retailer accolades. Other winners on the night included Ocado Technology, awarded The Cognizant Digital Pioneer Award, John Lewis & Partners scooped DWF The PwC Best New Store for its experience-focused opening at Westfield White City in west London, and family-run The Entertainer was awarded The Valitor Best Retailer Under £250m. Boxpark landed Retail Destination and The Hut Group picked up the award for International Growth Retailer.
George MacDonald commented: “There was a renewed sense of purpose among this year’s winners about what the sector should be doing for the community and for its customers and that is what set them apart: they are all aspiring to be more meaningful, they are striving for good.
“It’s no secret that it has been a challenging year for the retail industry, which makes the incredibly high standard of nominees and winners at this year’s awards even more impressive.
“Thank you to our hard-working and diligent panel of judges for helping to highlight the gold standard of talent transforming the sector, both within established retailers and innovative start-ups. Each year the caliber of inspirational stories exceeds expectations.”
Paul Smith, Executive Vice President and General Manager at Salesforce UK, added “It’s been a year of change and disruption in the UK retail industry. But in the midst of that, tonight’s nominees and winners are the bright stars who have found new ways to stand out. Tonight’s winners demonstrate incredible creativity - they have placed the customer at the centre of their innovation and business strategy and each should be very proud. These brands have set the bar high and are ultimately focused on delivering on the high expectations of today’s customers.”
The Retail Week Awards 2019, whose headline sponsor is Salesforce, is a symbol of excellence in the retail sector, providing a platform for industry-wide recognition and a celebration of outstanding work. The awards showcase a diverse breadth of achievement, from senior boardroom leaders to new digital stars, fresh entrepreneurs and local store managers for their achievements over the past 12 months.