Retail

Aldi crowned Australia’s Retailer of the Year as it embarks on major expansion of more than 100 new stores

Dinushi Dias /

Aldi was crowned the 2016 Retailer of the Year at this morning’s Australian Retail Association Eftpos Australia Retail Awards in Melbourne.

The judges selected Aldi for demonstrating a strong track record in pioneering marketing strategies, creating innovative staff programs and continuing to develop daily add-value-for-money strategies.

Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, last year’s ARA Retailer of the Year, came in as runner-up.

With a major Australian expansion underway, the retail industry association congratulated Aldi for continuing to invest heavily in its staff with above-industry standard pay rates and development opportunities.

Putting people at the forefront of its streamline business model by nurturing relationships with staff, customers and suppliers, pushed Aldi to the front of the line for the award judges.

Aldi now has 400 stores across the Australian eastern seaboard, with 70 new stores coming to Western Australia and up to 50 to be developed in South Australia.

“All those things are only possible because of our employees,” said the Aldi representative who received the award this morning.

“When we win an award such as ‘Retailer of the Year’, for me it’s more about our employees and recognition for their hard work, their dedication their commitment.”

The importance of retailers looking after their staff was a recurring theme throughout the breakfast event, with other category winners such as New South Wales’ Wilson Retail Saltwater and Wine sharing a heart-felt thanks to the people behind the brand.

Wilson Retail took out the Independent Retailer of the Year award for a third time, beating other finalists including The Party People.

The award judges chose Wilson Retail for continuing to thrive against big players by focusing on customers, its people and the community.

“This is pretty great, we’ve got a great team,” said Wilson Retail managing director Anthony Wilson.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time and it’s about the people, it’s about the friendships.”

During the event, ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman took a moment to commend those retailers that missed out on the top prizes.

“The judges did not have an easy job,” he said.

“To all those who missed out on winning a prize this year, we certainly would hope that you would re-enter next year.

“Events such as these are important to the industry, retail is Australia’s largest private sector employer and we have a huge opportunity in helping to build our economy.”

The ceremony was emceed by ABC presenter Beverley O’Connor who vowed to continue supporting and promoting the efforts of Australian retailers.

The other retailers to win awards this morning are:

  • Multi-channel Retailer of the Year: Mon Purse (NSW)
  • Retail Employer of the Year: The Peregrine Corporation (SA)
  • Retail Store Fit-Out of the Year: The Sydney String Centre and Specsavers, Eastland (VIC)
  • Retail Innovator of the Year: Shoes of Prey (NSW)
  • Retail HR Rising Star of the Year: Sussan Group recruitment manager Paige Willemse (VIC)
  • Retail Graduate of the Year: Lauren Dodman, Bunnings Albury (VIC)

Minister for small business reminds retailers about cyber crime

Victoria’s minister for small business Philip Dalidakis opened the breakfast ceremony by congratulating the retail sector for its vibrant contribution to the Australian economy.

He also took the moment to remind business owners about digital opportunities, threats and challenges in the retail sector.

“It means that many of you can start to access other markets but at the same time in doing that, you need to make sure that what you’re selling, whether it be a product or a service, has some differentiation,” he said.

“At every stage, we become more and more digitised, and with that also comes threats.”

Dalidakis called on businesses to consider how secure their data and online systems are.

“How many of you have the one computer that you do all of your financial transactions on but it also has all of your customer data?” he said.

“There are many retailers that I know personally, including friends of mine, that previously have had the one computer that they’ve ben using for all of their transactions. It can be very dangerous to do that.”

His question comes in the wake of increasing numbers of cyber attacks targeting SMEs.

Dalidakis encouraged businesses to take proactive steps to protect themselves from ransomware and similar cyber crime.

“How many of you are doing backups to a hard drive that’s connected to your computer, which allows you to, if something happens, restore any of your important data without being held to ransom?” he said.

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Dinushi Dias

Dinushi Dias is a freelance journalist and a former StartupSmart reporter and multimedia content producer. She is the co-founder of Melbourne-based production house Dinushi & Power.