intu Metrocentre’s yearly Retailer Awards saw some of the retail sector’s most respected brands go head to head to compete for an array of accolades.
 
Since July the general public has been voting online, with thousands of shoppers nominating their favourite stores for 16 awards for retailer excellence, including menswear and womenswear store of the year, small, large, specialist, jewellery, as well as health and beauty retailer of the year.
 
Winners were revealed at a prestigious ceremony at Wylam Brewery, hosted by Capital Radio’s Breakfast show presenter Bodg Howard, during an evening that celebrated the very best stores and staff from across the centre.
 
Staff from Doc Black Ink enjoyed an evening in the spotlight as they collected the World Class Service Award as well as the title of Independent Retailer of the Year.
 
Manger Philip Crampton said:
 
“To say we are all over the moon would be an understatement! We were overjoyed to be nominated in four different categories; to win the much coveted World Class Service award has just blown us away! Doc Black Ink has been operating from intu Metrocentre for 11 years – the only tattoo and piercing studio in an out of town shopping centre. We have 3 full time tattoo artists operating 7 days a week, and operate one of the busiest studios in the UK for piercings, completing 9,000 a year.”
 
After an incredibly successful first year of trading from the lower blue mall Wilko was named as Newcomer of the Year.
 
Store Manager Kay Armstrong said:
 
“We’re absolutely thrilled – we were nominated for three awards but winning one was so unexpected, the whole team is just delighted. It’s been a fantastic first year – Wilko has been such a popular addition to the shopping centre and all of our staff are really looking forward to our second Christmas at intu Metrocentre!”
 
The award for Best Leisure/Catering Operator was fiercely contended – with established favourites such as Thaikhun, Carluccio’s and Coast to Coast vying for the top spot with exciting new restaurants including the concept dessert boutique Movenpick. On the night MOD Pizza, the pioneer of fast-casual pizza which opened at intu Metrocentre last November scooped the award, much to the delight of the whole team.
 
schuh retained the accolade of Footwear and Accessories Store of the Year while Debenhams defended its title of Large Store of the Year for the second year running.
 
Store manager Martin Henderson commented:
 
“I’m just so proud of the whole team here at Debenhams, whose hard work and commitment is simply second to none. We’re thrilled to win this accolade for the second year running; the competition grows year on year but our team’s dedication knows no bounds and we’ll be back for more next year!”
 
For her outstanding work, creating a compelling in-store experience and engaging online presence Pamela Jewitt, from Paris Dress House, received the award for intu Metrocentre Manager of the Year. Pamela has been an independent retailer at the shopping centre for the last 30 years and was given a standing ovation from her peers while receiving her award.
 
Pamela said:
 
“I’m absolutely overwhelmed – I never expected to receive such an accolade. Over the years I’ve worked hard to establish a loyal customer base. We have a fantastic relationship with all our clients – they’re friends as well as customers. I really put my heart into the business so winning this award feels like an acknowledgement of all that hard work – it’s a tremendous feeling.”
 
Gavin Prior, general manager of intu Metrocentre, added:
 
 “It has been has fabulous night and a great opportunity for staff to enjoy a social evening together to celebrate the hard work that they do throughout the year. The event offers intu Metrocentre the chance to recognise and thank our retailers for the contributions they make to the shopping centre and though the awards are competitive, they also foster a strong sense of pride and unity.”