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Saudi retail sector wins accolades
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 14 - 04 - 2019

Best retail practices and organizations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were recognized during the prestigious, and the first-ever, RetailME Awards KSA gala ceremony last April 8 at The Ritz-Carlton, Jeddah.
The awards gala took place in collaboration with the Jeddah Chamber and Saudi Sand Souvenir Co. The event received overwhelming support from over 480 people and organizations – including retail industry leaders, dignitaries and visionaries – who were present at the awards gala.
Among the awardees in 11 diverse categories were Mihyar for Most Admired Retailer of the Year – Fashion and Sacoor Brothers in the Fashion Premium category. Skechers was named as the Most Admired Retailer of the Year – Footwear & Accessories brand, while Sephora was named as the awardee in the Beauty & Personal Care category.
Most Admired Retailer of the Year in the Home & Housewares category went to Saudi-born brand Aura Living. The brand also automatically entered the gia (Global Innovation Award) 2019-20, organized by the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago.
The first snow park in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Snowcity, was named as the Most Admired Retailer of the Year in Leisure & Entertainment category. McDonald's and Lulu were the awardees in the Food Service and Food & Grocery categories, respectively. Cloud 9 was named as the Most Admired Retail Start-up of the Year.
"We also felicitated retailers that have set a new bar in the art of storytelling by creating beautiful stores with the Most admired Store Design of the Year." Two awardees in this category were Nahdi Takasusi Pharmacy and Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group's beauty brand Mikyajy.
In a seamless retail environment, several brick-and-mortar retailers have successfully implemented omnichannel strategies in Saudi Arabia. Among them, two Saudi brands Jarir Bookstore and BinDawood Group's Danube Online were named as the Most Admired Online Retailer of the Year.
Along with the awards in 11 categories, there were three awards in recognition of excellence. All three went to brands that were breathed to life in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia-based Panda Retail Company bagged the RetailME Award for Excellence in Customer Experience. Aldawar Almasry, another Saudi brand, took home the RetailME Award for Excellence in Customer Engagement. VOX Cinemas was recognised for excellence in Cinematic Experience, presented by real estate company Dar Al Osool.
Mohammed Alawi, chairman of the board, Saudi Sand Souvenir Co, said "we were very eager to honor and celebrate excellence in retail in Saudi Arabia."
Knowing and being part of the events organized by RetailME gave us the confidence that they would be the right partner. And the first edition of the RetailME Awards KSA was a huge success. It is just the beginning of an exciting journey."
The award ceremony, a first-of-its-kind in Jeddah, was anchored by one of the favorite media personalities in Dubai, Tom Urquhart, along with Arabic speaking emcee, Maher Mustafa.
The entry submission for the first-ever RetailME Awards KSA were evaluated by an eminent jury panel comprising of Alex Andarakis, founder & managing director, Andarakis Advisory Services; Hathal Saad Alutaibi, CEO, Alandalus Property Company; Jerzy Osika, owner & CEO, Promedia; Mohamed Galal, CEO, Dar Al Osool; and Mohammad Alawi, chairman of the board, Saudi Sand Souvenir Company.
"Starting a business and driving it to success is a tough challenge. At RetailME, we acknowledge every aspect of this journey," said Amitabh Taneja, chairman & managing director of the Group. "And we strongly believe that our awards ceremonies are not only about winning and losing. They are more about acknowledging and rewarding trendsetters in the retail industry. It is also about sharing achievements for the evolution of the retail industry as a whole."
"We sincerely thank our esteemed jury for sparing time and effort to evaluate all the submissions and best practices," he added. "A big thanks to all our partners – Jeddah Chamber (Support Partner); Alandalus Property Company (Presenting Partner); Red Sea Mall (Powered By Partner); Saudi Sand Souvenir Co (Event Partner); Dar Al Osool (Category Sponsor); Granadia & Serafi Mega Mall (Gold Sponsors); SAP (Technology Partner); Aston Martin (Automotive Partner); LP Flex, umdasch and Zebra Technologies (Silver Sponsors); CROWE (Audit & Results Partner); and gia (Awards Partner) – for supporting this event. Finally, we are grateful to all the participants and congratulate the finalists and the ultimate awardees."
The event was presented by RetailME magazine, the most widely read trade retail publication in the Middle East, with a 45,000-strong readership across the MENA region. The monthly publication offers unparalleled insights through its network of correspondents, industry analysts and specialists. — SG

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