By Aimee Chanthadavong

Specialty stationery retailer Smiggle has been awarded the top honour of Oracle Australian Retailer of the Year 2010 at the Australia Retailers Association (ARA) Australian Retail Awards Breakfast in Sydney.

Tom Kimberley, Smiggle general manager, told Retailbiz that the company is very excited about the win.

“We have won a couple of awards in particular centres but this is our first major acknowledgement in a broader scope outside of a shopping centre,” he said.

Smiggle was launched in Melbourne in 2003 before ownership was granted to the Just Group four years later. Since the acquisition, the Smiggle brand has opened 54 stores across the country.

According to Kimberly, the company was nominated by industry peers for the speciality retailing category of the awards before they had to put their own submission in for the Retailer of the Year award.

“[In our submission] we talked about what we’ve been doing in the last 12 months in terms of growing the brand, in terms of business development and where we have been growing our revenue,” he said.

“We also concentrated quite heavily helping teams of our new stores and trying to get them up to speed and getting them familiar with our stationery products so they could continue to bring consistency to the business by delivering that great in-store experience we want to give to our customers.”

Kimberley said the win is just the start of the journey for Smiggle and it will continue to look at other opportunities of getting the brand out there.

“We’re a very young brand that has been opening stores quite quickly so there are still plenty of opportunities. We want everyone to know that it’s an exciting stationery retail brand, particularly this Christmas and the back to school season which is very critical to us,” he said. “We’ll continue to move forward and there’s a lot more people that have yet to be part of that Smiggle experience.”

The competitors that Smiggle faced for the Oracle Australian Retailer of the Year 2010 award include:

• Food, drink and grocery  –  Coles   
• Department stores  – David Jones 
• Household goods retailing  – JB HiFi
• Clothing and footwear – ts14+
• Restaurants, cafés and takeaway – Grill’d

Other ARA Australian Retail Award winners announced at the breakfast included:

• 2010 Australian Young Retailer of the Year, Charles Hammersla from Kmart in Queensland;
• 2010 Australian Independent Retailer of the Year, Sydney Street Casual in South Australia;
• 2010 ARA Retail Institute Australian Retail Graduate of the Year, Lisa Balakas from Ripe Maternity in Victoria; and the
• 2010 Charter Security Australian Retail Innovator of the Year, Kogan Technologies
The ARA Australian Retail Awards program is designed to recognise the outstanding achievements of individuals and organisations in the growth and development of their businesses and their contributions towards retailing in Australia.