If there is one message to take away from the Retail Week Awards 2017 sponsored by Salesforce, it is that great people make great businesses.

Whether boardroom leaders, digital stars or store managers who go the extra mile on the shopfloor, our winners are all hugely talented.

While the industry will adapt – as it always has done – in response to changing shopping habits and trading conditions, its reliance on people is a constant and our winners exemplify that.

The winners…

(Click on the winners to read their story)

  • The AlixPartners Outstanding Contribution to Retail – John Timpson
  • The Salesforce Retailer of the Year – JD Sports
  • The Clarity Retail Leader of the Year – Alex Baldock
  • The Teleperformance Customer Experience Initiative of the Year – Screwfix
  • The Tata Consultancy Services Marketing or Advertising Campaign of the Year – DFS
  • The OC&C PurePlay Etailer of the Year – Shop Direct
  • The Cognizant Digital Pioneer of the Year – Dixons Carphone
  • The KPMG International Growth Retailer of the Year – The Hut Group
  • The London Gateway Logistics Park Supply Chain Initiative of the Year – Dixons Carphone
  • Own Brand Range or Product of the Year – Go Outdoors
  • The Be Inspired Award for Diversity in Retail – Hallett Retail
  • The ThoughtWorks Customer Technology Innovation of the Year – John Lewis
  • The Audit Partnership CSR Initiative of the Year – Halfords
  • The Island Pacific Speciality Retailer of the Year – Dreams
  • The Realys New Store of the Year – John Bell & Croyden
  • The Clipper Store Manager of the Year – Lucy Miller, Boots
  • The Deloitte Employer of the Year – Schuh
  • The Aptos Growth Retailer of the Year – Farfetch


John Timpson built his company on people power after asking himself how he could ensure its longevity. “I thought the only thing I could do was to make our shops bloody good at what they did,” he tells us. “And the only way to do that was to trust people to do it for me.”

Similarly at Shop Direct, its transformation led by Alex Baldock, relied on having the right team to complement his skills as a leader. “I’ve been really lucky to surround myself with an exceptionally talented crew here,” he says.

And at JD Sports, everything from great visual merchandising in stores to consummate relationships with top brands are testament to a team’s mentality that stretches from the aisles to the boardroom.

Similar traits would no doubt be found at all of our winners, which form a suitably eclectic group that reflects the industry’s vibrancy.

There are venerable names and others barely a decade old, pureplays and multichannel businesses, generalists and specialists, big companies and smaller ones.

Retail transformers

Their achievements are outstanding and show that, even in turbulent retail times such as the present, great businesses will not simply survive, but can thrive.

All together, they represent the industry at its very best, and are eloquent evidence of the fact that Britain remains a nation of shopkeepers – and they are world-class.

The pace of retail transformation will not slow down. Different business models will emerge over time, among both entrepreneurial newcomers and established players alike.

And their success, like all the projects celebrated at this year’s awards, will in the end be down to the leadership, imagination and executional excellence of people.