The Oracle Retail Week Awards - most exciting awards yet?
By Sarah E Taylor-Oracle on Mar 18, 2011
Last night's annual Oracle Retail Week Awards saw the UK's top retailers come together to celebrate the very best of our industry over the last year. The Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane in London was the setting for an exciting ceremony which this year marked several significant milestones in British - and global - retail.
There were some extremely hot contests for many of this year's awards - and all very deserving winners. The entries have demonstrated beyond doubt that retailers have striven to push their standards up yet again in all areas over the past year. The judging panel includes some of the most prestigious names in the retail industry - to impress the panel enough to win an award is a substantial achievement.
This year the panel included the likes of Andy Clarke - Chief Executive of ASDA Group; Mark Newton Jones - CEO of Shop Direct Group; Richard Pennycook - the finance director at Morrisons; Rob Templeman - Chief Executive of Debenhams; and Stephen Sunnucks - the president of Gap Europe. These are retail veterans who have each helped to shape the British High Street over the last decade. It was great to chat with many of them in the Oracle VIP area last night.
For me, last night's highlight was honouring both Sir Stuart Rose and Sir Terry Leahy for their contributions to the retail industry. Both have set the standards in retailing over the last twenty years and taken their respective businesses from strength to strength, demonstrating that there is always a need for innovation even in larger businesses, and that a business has to adapt quickly to new technology in order to stay competitive.
Sir Terry Leahy's retirement this year marks the end of an era of global expansion for the Tesco group and a milestone in the progression of British retail. Sir Terry has helped steer Tesco through nearly 20 years of change, with 14 years as Chief Executive. During this time he led the drive for international expansion and an aggressive campaign to increase market share. He has led the way for High Street retailers in adapting to the rise of internet retailing and nurtured a very successful home delivery service. More recently he has pioneered the notion of cross-channel retailing with the introduction of Tesco apps for the iPhone and Android mobile phones allowing customers to scan barcodes of items to add to a shopping list which they can then either refer to in store or order for delivery.
John Lewis Partnership was a very deserving winner of The Oracle Retailer of the Year award for their overall dedication to excellent retailing practices. The business was also named the American Express Marketing/Advertising Campaign of the Year award for their memorable 'Never Knowingly Undersold' advert series, which included a very successful viral video and radio campaign with Fyfe Dangerfield's cover of Billy Joel's 'She's Always a Woman' used for the adverts.
Store Design of the Year was another exciting category with Topshop taking the accolade for its flagship Oxford Street store in London, which combines boutique concession-style stalls with high fashion displays and exclusive collections from leading designers. The store even has its own hairdressers and food hall, making it a truly all-inclusive fashion retail experience and a global landmark for any self-respecting international fashion shopper.
Over the next few weeks we'll be exploring some of the winning entries in more detail here on the blog, so keep an eye out for some unique insights into how the winning retailers have made such remarkable achievements.