Reflections on this year's Top Shop awards

  • Opinion
  • September 9, 2015
  • Mark Johnston
Reflections on this year's Top Shop awards
The Top Shop judging panel. From left: Ben Goodale of .99 and justONE; stylist Lisa O’Neill; Dr Jonathan Elms of Massey University's retail faculty; Mark Johnston.

Last Thursday we rounded out this year’s Top Shop Awards season at the Airforce Museum of New Zealand out at Wigram down in Christchurch, with the Upper South Island Regional Awards and the announcement of the National winners of the Pureplay eTailer, Retail Professional and Overall Supreme Top Shop Awards for 2015.

It’s now five years since the first major earthquake in Christchurch, so it was extra special for the Retail NZ team, and our corporate partners, to be able to recognise and celebrate the very best of New Zealand retail with a broad cross-section of retailers, big and small alike, from Canterbury and the rest of the Upper South Island.

Gisborne’s Specsavers was named New Zealand’s Top Shop for 2015, winning the .99 and NZME National Overall Supreme Award, narrowly pipping Carvin Streetwear from Gore and Warehouse Stationery – Royal Oak, who were both named as runners-up, with Flight Centre Chews Lane – Wellington and Avanti Plus – Blenheim rounding out this year’s regional winners. The National Pureplay E-tailer award went to Wellington’s Beauty Bliss. And the prize for National Retail Professional of the Year was awarded jointly to two young, up-and-coming retailers, Jess Pulham from Carvin Streetwear in Gore and Rebekah Brown from Resene, Auckland, with last year’s winner, Ashley Brunel from Liquor King, Horsham, named as runner-up in the very hotly-contested category.

It’s exciting for Gisborne to be recognised as having the Top Shop in the country, and demonstrates how really great shopping experiences can be found in towns and cities right across the country. The extremely strong competition in this year’s ServiceIQ National Retail Professional category also demonstrates some of the standout talent that’s being developed while already working in our sector nationwide.

This year’s judging process has been more rigorous than ever before, with extensive mystery shopping being complemented by an expert judging panel convening to select runners-up and winners from over 200 finalists. Chairman of the judges, Ben Goodale, Managing Director of New Zealand’s leading retail advertising agency .99, said Specsavers had faced tough competition from as far afield as Gore and Auckland, but were worthy winners based on an outstanding in-store experience and great omni-channel innovation.

“All the finalists and winners should be very proud of what they’ve achieved, but I offer a special congratulations to the team at Specsavers in Gisborne. Winning the National Overall Supreme Award is a tremendous achievement, against some extremely tough competition from other leading retailers across different categories,” said Ben at the conclusion of this year’s awards.

Now that Top Shop is over for another year, the Retail NZ team is already busy planning for the next major events on our retail calendar. At the end of October the second Online Retailer NZ Roadshow will hit Auckland, while we’ll shortly be announcing the first group of headline keynote speakers for our International Forum, which is scheduled to kick-start 2016 on Tuesday 16th February at SkyCity in Auckland.

This post originally appeared on Retail NZ's blog.

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