As the premier awards ceremony for the independent retailing industry, the Asian Trader Awards is, and always has been, the must-attend event in grocery.
Every year, the awards gather the key players and stakeholders across the grocery sector to recognise and reward the cream of the crop from convenience retailing.
On the evening, leading politicians mix with captains of industry to herald independent retailers, convenience store and symbol operators, shopkeepers, off-license owners and newsagents from across the UK.
The highly professional retailers who were victors last year have raised the bar for this year’s finalists. For example, we saw how independent retailers have been quick to respond to the trend of consumers shopping ‘little and often’.Also, despite experiencing a challenging economic climate in recent years, independent retailers’ ability to manage and capitalise on shopping trends such as healthy snacking and to improve their store layout has kept them ahead of the game.
It is always tall order for retailers to top previous winners, but with the convenience channel enjoying growth once again, 2017 is sure to reveal even greater achievements from retailers.
This year, we have already reported on instances where customer service and being part of the local community have become central to the ongoing success of independent retailing. Naturally, the multiples have not been slow to notice this trend and are aggressively trying to capture space on the high street with takeovers and hostile bids.
But instead of fearing this high street competition, independent retailers have continuously shown that they have learned from it and have then improved their store offerings in the areas that the multiples cannot.
Independent retailers have kept on persevering, getting to know their customers and meeting their needs while working closely with wholesalers and suppliers – which is why we hold these awards, so we can celebrate these wins.
Asian Trader magazine will continue to do everything to help and support independent retailers, and it is in this spirit that we encourage the UK’s finest independent retailers to enter the 2017 awards.
We look forward to welcoming you all on the night and take this opportunity to wish all the entrants to the Asian Trader Awards the very best of luck.