As the shortlist for the Retail Week Awards 2017 is unveiled, we look back through the archives at winners over the past twenty years.
1996 and 1997:
The first winner of the Retailer of the Year award was Tesco, which was handed the gong following a unanimous vote by the judges. It repeated its success in 1997, when then-chief executive Terry Leahy picked up the award. The judges said it had strengthened its position over the past year and was setting new standards in many areas. The awards were the first industry-wide accolades in retail.
It was B&Q’s turn to win the biggest award of the night, when chief executive Jim Hodkinson collected the award from compere Maureen Lipman.
Debenhams took home the Retailer of the Year gong, and then-chief executive Terry Green picked up the award.
It was back to Tesco for the Retailer of the Year award. The judges said it had become the “UK’s only world-class retailer” in the preceding 12 months. Stuart Rose, at that time chief executive of Arcadia, said Tesco had adhered to the principles of value, service and innovation and was “the pre-eminent retailer, bar none, in Britain today”. At the time, its overseas expansion was on track, its ecommerce business was taking off, and it was impressing the public.
In 2001, Matalan become the first value retailer to pick up the Retailer of the Year award. The judges praised its clear strategy and format, and said that it had delivered “exactly what it said it was going to do”.
Next took home the Retailer of the Year award, and deputy chairman David Jones collected it. Sir Philip Green won Retail Personality of the Year, while Argos won Technology Solution of the Year for its click-and-collect scheme.
In 2003, Argos went one further and picked up the Retailer of the Year award. It also took home another technology accolade – this time for its text and take-home service that allowed shoppers to text in orders and pay faster in-store.
It was back to Tesco in 2005, when director of group corporate affairs Lucy Neville Rolfe picked up the grocer’s fourth Retailer of the Year award.
Carphone Warehouse became Retailer of the Year in 2006, when its impressive growth and strategy caught the judges’ eyes. It also won the Innovative Employer award. Sir Charles Dunstone collected both.
It was a big year for John Lewis in 2007 – it won Retailer of the Year and then-chairman Sir Stuart Hampson took home the Outstanding Contribution to Retail award.
It was the end of an era for Morrisons in 2008 as Sir Ken Morrison stepped down, bringing a 55-year career to an end. He was presented with a special award for his Outstanding Contribution to Retail by former Asda chief Allan Leighton. Morrisons also won the Retailer of the Year award for its “stunning recovery” under then-chief executive Marc Bolland.
Sir Geoff Mulcahy won the Outstanding Contribution to Retail Award and Morrisons picked up its second consecutive Retailer of the Year award. Sainsbury’s boss Justin King, meanwhile, was named Leader of the Year.
Publicity-shy Primark founder and chairman Arthur Ryan made an appearance at the Retail Week Awards in 2010 to collect his award for Outstanding Contribution to Retail. Primark was also named Retailer of the Year.
In 2011, Sir Stuart Rose and Sir Terry Leahy stepped down from their roles as chief executives of Marks & Spencer and Tesco respectively. They were rewarded with a joint Outstanding Contribution to Retail award. John Lewis won Retailer of the Year – chairman Charlie Mayfield collected the award.
Burberry’s achievements under chief executive Angela Ahrendts were recognised with the Retailer of the Year award. Carpetright founder Lord Harris, meanwhile, was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Retail award, and Prime Minister David Cameron gave a speech in honour of his achievements.
John Lewis had another great year, picking up Retailer of the Year and Multichannel Retailer of the Year.
Ted Baker founder Ray Kelvin won the Outstanding Contribution to Retail award, while German discounter Aldi was recognised for its impressive foray into the UK grocery market. Managing directors Roman Heini and Matthew Barnes picked up the Retail of the Year gong.
It was another stellar year for Ray Kelvin as Ted Baker clinched the highly competitive Retailer of the Year gong. Stefano Pessina, who became chief executive of Walgreens Boots Alliance - the business he helped to create through one of the biggest corporate mergers in retail - over the year took the Leader of the Year award.
Another newly merged company - Dixons Carphone - emerged victorious, taking home the Retailer of the Year award after a stellar first year as a united company. Richard Pennycook, who helped bring The Co-op back from the brink, was awarded Leader of the Year for his efforts and Mark Price, managing director of Waitrose, was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Retail Award as he prepared to stand down from the grocer.