Sheffield City Hall turned into a fashion showcase as Meadowhall’s finest turned on the red carpet glamour for their annual retail awards.
The ceremony, a celebration to champion the people who make the Meadowhall shopping experience one of the finest in the UK, saw 390 bosses and employees, guests and centre managers arrive at Sheffield City Hall on Sunday night to be snapped by waiting ‘paparazzi’ and dined in fine style.
Supported by The Source Skill Academy and the Sheffield Star, votes are cast by the public themselves and are highly prized by all 280 stores at the centre, which greets some 25 million visitors every year.
Sheffield band Acoustic Angels performed a full set, waiting staff stunned diners by bursting into dance - they were actually local dance troupe Rationale, in disguise - and Kate Walsh, runner-up in The Apprentice 2009, presented the 23 sought-after awards.
The trophy for Excellence in Customer Service was hotly contested - this year, a number of stores scored 100 per cent with mystery shoppers sent out to put them to the test.
But after further challenges by the mystery shopping team, the award finally went to went to Virgin holidays after a decision by a panel of award sponsors and centre management.
Said Amanda Pilgrim, Head of Business Development at the award’s sponsors, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry: “We chose to sponsor the customer service award for the third year running as customer service is an integral part of the retail world today. When making the tough decision of the overall winner we took into account everything from the initial customer greet right up to final purchase, this is where Virgin Holidays excelled.”
Retailer of the Year, supported by Smith Young, was won by the Ted Baker store, who also picked up the Mercury Taxis-sponsored Excellence in Visual Merchandising award.
Topshop took the womenswear crown while Topman won best menswear store and Primark were clearly the bargainista’s favourite, winning top Value For Money store. Best
Department Store went to House of Fraser and hot U.S. lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret, who opened in Meadowhall this summer, won Springboard-sponsored Best New Store Design.
Mark Bruce – Meadowhall Retail Director, commented: “We are delighted by the response to this year’s awards. We had over 8,000 votes in centre and online. This event really does showcase the wealth of talent within the centre and recognise individual employees and retailers who have delivered amazing brands, stores, experiences and high levels of customer service.”
There two are real gems - and that’s official.
They may work for rival jewellery firms, but Nina Telford of Beaverbrooks and Emma Wright at Goldsmiths are both pure gold, judges decided.
For the first time at Meadowhall, the panel couldn’t decide on one winner and the jewellers shared the StoreFinancial-sponsored award for Retail Employee of the Year,
Said a delighted Emma: “I’m really proud to be put forward for this award and shocked that with thousands of retail staff to compete against, I drew with Nina. I’ve been in the centre for 10 years and love every aspect of my role.”
Other winners on the night were:
Footwear - Schuh
Jewellery & Accessories - Pandora
Sport & leisure - JD Sports
Children’s - Disney store
Health & Beauty - Boots
Gifts & Treats - Thorntons
Phones & Technology - Apple
Music, Games & Hobbies - HMV
Financial Services - HSBC
Travel- Thomas Cook
Home - Next
Restaurant - Nando’s
Fast Foods - McDonalds
Independent - Sweet Tradition