Innovation, creativity and leadership helping retail survive and thrive

AUSTRALIA’S best retailers are using technical innovation, creativity and leadership to survive tough times in the stores, was the messaged highlighted at the National Retail Association’s (NRA) annual awards event in Sydney recently.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said the array of finalists in the 2019 National Retail Awards at The Star in Sydney also demonstrated that, regardless of size, retailers were fighting back against the prevailing economic headwinds to not only survive but thrive.

Beauty took out a top award. Lush has been voted CHAMPION is no better category than Customer Experience, an award the company is no stranger to and 100 per cent aligned to the direction of the brand. With its heritage in ‘caring sharing kitchen-sink beginnings’ in 1995 in the South of England, this international brand has a laser focus on creating and delivering the most encompassing experience.

In 2018, Lush Labs was launched as a digital product release platform where Lush inventors pushed the limits of what is possible. A total of 65 per cent of Lush’s year-round products are unpackaged.

Lush employs 15,000 people with 950 stores worldwide, and 35 stores in Australia. Lush’s core values are to be inclusive and diverse in all areas and train their staff to be customer-centric and values-led.

Commenting on the Nominations

“The fact that nominations for our 2019 Retail Awards come from global retailers, Australia’s major retailers and some incredibly successful small retailers shows the incredible diversity of Australian retail and the NRA as their representative organisation,’’ Ms Lamb said.

“We are incredibly proud of being able to represent retailers who are constantly seeking to evolve and improve. These are the retailers who are the face of modern Australian retail.’’

Ms Lamb said retail businesses such as Citizen Wolf, WH Smith, Appliances Online, and Sportspower Super Warehouse had demonstrated enormous creativity in applying technology to accelerate every part of their business.

Organisations such as Hanes Australia and its brands such as Bonds and Supercheap Auto were also demonstrating the kind of leadership that encourages excellence throughout the ranks while building a generation of future retail leaders.

Amongst the Champions Awards category, Citizen Wolf, which uses algorithms, data and on-demand manufacturing to produce made-to-measure clothing 10-times faster than traditional tailoring, won the Innovation Champion category of the 2019 Retail Awards.

Online Retailer of the Year went to Appliances Online, following year-on-year sales growth of 23 per cent for May at the time of their nomination. Appliances Online are the only Australian online retailer providing free next day delivery for 98 per cent of the country.

Young Retailer of the Year was Stephen Mangion, from Hanes Australia, who won a $20,000 trip to New York, among other prizes.

Mr Mangion, an assistant apparel buyer for Hanes Brands Australasia, created a business plan to extend Bonds’ success in the “tween’’ apparel market. His prize includes a $20,000 trip to New York where he hopes to further his career.

The National Retail Association is the voice of modern Australian retail. It represents the interests of 28,000 retailers from every state and territory in Australia. It has been serving businesses in the retail and fast food sectors for close to 100 years.

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