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Visa congratulates Top Shop winner Freedom Furnitu

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Visa congratulates Top Shop winner Freedom Furniture

VISA celebrates excellence in best merchandise - large format stores at the 2005 Auckland Top Shop awards

Auckland, 20 October 2005 - Manukau's Freedom Furniture has scooped the top prize in the Visa-sponsored best general merchandise - large format store category at the Auckland Top Shop Awards 2005.

Visa International celebrated its commitment to New Zealand's retail industry through its sponsorship of the Top Shop Awards held in Auckland on Tuesday night.

"Our hat goes off to Freedom Furniture for winning the overall award in the best general merchandise - large format store category and we wish all of the finalists the very best for the year ahead in this dynamic industry," says Iain Jamieson, Visa International New Zealand Country Manager.

"The Top Shop Awards promote excellence in the retailing industry and at Visa International we play a key supporting role by providing payment products and services that allow buyers and sellers to conduct commerce - anywhere, anytime and in any way," says Mr Jamieson.

The Manukau store sells furniture, homewares and furnishings with a strong emphasis on customer service and on unique and inspirational visual displays. The Top Shop judging panel selected Freedom Furniture for the category award because the store is a home lover's ultimate experience, with a well-designed store concept, great merchandising and inspiring displays.

To enter the Top Shop Awards retailers were nominated by their customers over a six-week period. Customers rated the stores on their ambience, service and overall shopping experience and went into the draw to win a $500 shopping spree in the store they nominated.

Stores which then took the next step of becoming an entrant were mystery shopped by Fieldforce and also participated in a three-week period where customers could text in answers to questions related to customer service. After another round of mystery shopping of the finalists by a panel of judges, the category winner was determined.

The other finalists in the Auckland best general merchandise - large format store category were: Bunnings Warehouse, Botany and Farmers Trading, Newmarket.

In New Zealand, Visa is the most preferred card and it has more than 100,000 merchants throughout the country. The popularity of Visa in New Zealand speaks for itself - people spend twice as much on Visa here than any other payment card brand.

ENDS

About Visa: Visa is the world's leading payment brand generating more than US$3 trillion in annual card sales volume. Visa has unsurpassed acceptance in more than 150 countries. The Visa organization plays a pivotal role in developing innovative payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa is a leader in Internet based payments and is pioneering the creation of u-commerce, or universal commerce-the ability to conduct commerce anywhere, anytime, and any way. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.

Visa New Zealand
In New Zealand, Visa is the leading payment brand with almost 2 million cards on issue and more than 100,000 merchant acceptance locations. NZ$14 billion was spent at point of sale or withdrawn from ATMs in New Zealand using Visa cards in the year ended June 2005. Visa processes more than 100 million transactions in New Zealand annually. For more information, visit www.visa.co.nz.

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