Country Road, Aldi and independent retailer Allspares and Bearings and were the big winners at the 2009 ARA Australian Retail Awards.
After being voted the clothing and footwear category winner by retailers across Australia, Country Road took out the retail industry’s top honour as 2009 Australian Retailer of the Year despite stiff competition from Aldi (food, drink and grocery 2009 Australian retailer of the year), L’Occitane (speciality retailing 2009 Australian retailer of the year) and Subway (restaurants, cafés and takeaway 2009 Australian retailer of the year).
Australian Retailer Association (ARA) executive director Russell Zimmerman said over the past five years Country Road has successfully repositioned itself as a fashionable and accessible brand for the younger consumer.
"Despite tough global economic conditions, Country Road has recorded strong sales results for the past two years underpinned by their commitment to rewarding customers and the relaunch of their two-tiered loyalty program," he said.
Aldi didn’t leave empty handed, taking out the 2009 Australian Retail Innovation of the Year for their leadership and innovation in unit and national pricing, store design, product packaging and maternity leave policy.
"Aldi is consistently the first Australian grocery retailer to adopt unique strategies that benefit the community including consumers and their own staff. We’re delighted to recognise their outstanding leadership and innovation," said Zimmerman.
Michael Kloeters, group managing director Aldi Stores said being recognised for bringing innovation to the marketplace was an honour and reflected the effort that has gone into establishing Aldi in Australia.
“In just eight years we have grown to 206 stores along the east coast of Australia and we are one of Australia’s top 10 retailers,” he said.
“Our exclusive brands philosophy was a new concept when we first launched in
Australia. Since then, the private label sector has grown as consumers embrace the convenience, quality and cost savings of the Aldi shopping experience.
“We were the first grocery retailer to introduce unit pricing so that customers can easily compare product and pack sizes, and we are still the only grocery retailer to have national pricing – the same price in every store, every day of the year,” said Kloeters.
ARA Australian Retail Awards also recognised the outstanding achievements and business nous of 2009 Australian Independent Retailer of the Year Allspares and Bearings.
Since it opened in 2001, Allspares and Bearings has grown from a single person operation to a retailer of over 5000 different product lines for industrial spare parts and accessories.