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Auckland’s Top Shops Take Top Honours

Tuesday 18 October 2005

Auckland’s Top Shops Take Top Honours

Winners of 2005 Auckland Top Shop Awards Announced

The winners of the retail industry’s most prestigious awards were announced at a gala dinner held in Auckland on Tuesday 18 October.

Run by the New Zealand Retailers Association, the Auckland Top Shop Awards aim to encourage and promote excellence in retailing.

Held at Sky City Convention Centre, the black-tie event saw the most celebrated award of Overall Auckland Top Shop 2005 go to the French Art Shop (Ponsonby).

Eight retailers picked up top honours in their respective categories including: New World Victoria Park (Freemans Bay) as best supermarket; Niche Hair Studio (Parnell) as best start-up; The French Art Shop (Ponsonby) as best specialty store; Millar and Co–St Heliers Bay Wines (St Heliers) as best specialty food and beverage store; Rodd & Gunn Queen St (City) as best in fashion, apparel and footwear; Occhiali Opticals (Ponsonby) in lifestyle, health and fitness; Arbuckles (Manukau) in giftware and homeware; and Freedom Furniture (Manukau) in general merchandise large format.

Rodd & Gunn Queen Street also received the Heart of the City Service Award for best service. Gary Hobbs of Mississippi (Westfield Pakuranga) received the MYOB Retail Hall of Fame Award for his contribution to retailing.

New this year, the national Westfield Young Retailer of the Year Award was presented to Beth Maughan from Woolworths Westfield Queensgate in Lower Hutt, while Veronika Maine in Westfield St Lukes was named Best Store in Westfield Shopping Centre.

The winners of the 2005 Auckland Top Shop Awards were selected from more than 300 entries. Sponsored by the New Zealand Herald and The Aucklander, the awards were open to all retailers in the greater Auckland region, from Orewa to Pukekohe.

An independent panel of judges evaluated the stores on excellence in customer service, product knowledge, selling skills and manner of staff, as well as the store’s atmosphere, design and layout.

The judging process took place throughout August and September with each entrant mystery shopped in order to determine the finalists. Each finalist was then revisited and reassessed by a judging panel of 11 retailing experts across consulting, design, HR, merchandising, media and training, the identities of which were not revealed until after the awards were announced.

Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, John Long of Retail Consulting Group said the calibre and quality of the finalists had been very impressive and it was great to see so many retailers with such high standards in place. “It made selecting the winners very challenging.”

Long said the judging was also made challenging by the award programme’s emphasis on customer service, with numerous visits made to each finalist and hearty debate amongst the judges to ensure a balanced decision.

More than 600 retailers attended the Westpac-sponsored gala dinner and partied the night away with entertainment provided by Verse 3 and MC Frankie Stevens.

Russell Sinclair, Northern Region Manager of the New Zealand Retailers Association, said the annual awards were about celebrating excellence in retailing and raising the bar.

“Tonight’s winners will provide a benchmark against which retailers can analyse their performance and identify opportunities for improvement.”

Entrants would also be able to obtain their mystery shop results along with a consultation from mystery shoppers Fieldforce for a reduced fee, said Sinclair. This independent overview of how their store was perceived would provide a valuable learning opportunity for entrants.

Sinclair said both the Auckland public who nominated their favourite stores and the retail industry had bought into the importance of Top Shop.

“Proof of this is the record 3,100 nominations we received this year, the most in the programme’s 18-year history,” he said.

New Zealand's leading retail trade association, the New Zealand Retailers Association has provided a service to retailers nationwide for over 75 years.

Auckland Top Shop Awards 2005 Winners:

Overall winner, sponsored by The New Zealand Herald and The Aucklander The French Art Shop, Ponsonby

Supermarket, sponsored by PRG Schultz New World Victoria Park, Freemans Bay

Start-up, sponsored by Electronic Transaction Services Niche Hair Studio, Parnell

Specialty store, sponsored by Five Star Consumer Finance The French Art Shop, Ponsonby

Lifestyle, health and fitness, sponsored by Provenco Technology Solutions Occhiali Opticals, Ponsonby

Giftware and homeware, sponsored by Deltarg Distribution Systems Arbuckles, Manukau

Specialty food and beverage, sponsored by Telecom New Zealand Millar & Co – St Heliers Bay Wines, St Heliers

General merchandise large format, sponsored by Visa International Freedom Furniture, Manukau

Fashion, apparel and footwear, sponsored by Radio Viva 98.2FM Rodd & Gunn, Queen Street

Heart of the City Service Award Rodd & Gunn, Queen Street

MYOB Retail Hall of Fame Award Gary Hobbs, Mississippi, Westfield Pakuranga

Westfield Young Retailer of the Year Beth Maughan, Woolworths Westfield Queensgate, Lower Hutt

Best Store in Westfield Shopping Centre Veronika Maine, Westfield St Lukes

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