52 companies from across the Middle East have been short-listed as the finalists for the forthcoming RetailME Awards 2006. Considered one of the most coveted events in the region, the awards are held under the patronage of Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Bint Khaled Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Economy and were instituted last year to recognise excellence in the retail industry. This year the award ceremony will be held on February 19, 2007, at the Joharah Ballroom, Madinat Jumeirah.
The second edition of the Awards registered a marked increase in the number of entries, especially from retailers from the rest of the Middle East, as against the previous year, clearly indicating the respect the awards have gained amongst this sector.
Some of the leading names under review for top positions across various categories are Saudi Arabia based Azizia Panda, Lazurde Company, MTC-Vodafone from Bahrain, Jordan Centre for Manufacturing Trade and Investment, Splash LLC, Burjuman, Dubai Duty Free and Emirates Airlines for Mont Blanc.
A judging panel, comprising internationally well-established names in the industry, is currently evaluating the nominees; the results of which will then be independently collected, collated and audited by Ernst & Young. Final winners will then be announced at the high-powered award ceremony.
Eminent personalities in the jury are Saeed Mohammed Al Nabouda, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) and Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS), UAE; Colm McLoughlin, Managing Director, Dubai Duty Free, UAE; Walter Kleinschmit, Principal, Middle East Shopping Center Advisors, KSA; Ian Watt, Chairman, International Council of Shopping Centers, International Advisory Committee, South Africa, Peter Walichnowski, Director, Skylan Properties, Seoul, Korea and John Stanley, Director, John Stanley Associates, Australia.
“The RetailME Awards, I would say, are on par with global standards and it is critical for an award ceremony of this nature to exist, as it helps develop retail skills of the local market. Personally I have seen some higher standards throughout this year’s entries, with some dramatic changes seen in the ‘Marketing Campaign’ and ‘ Store Design’ categories”, said John.
For the second year in succession, Ilyas & Mustafa Galadari Group, the developers of the City of Arabia, are the title sponsors of the event along with Burjuman, HP, DMG World Media, Apparel Group, and Ernst & Young mark their second consecutive year as category sponsors. This year’s edition sees three new partners, Precise, Crown Corporation and Grand Optics who come in as category sponsors as well.
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