Six winners were honoured in the Singapore Retailers Association annual SRA Retail Awards for the impact they have each made on the retail scene in Singapore through innovation, creativity and retail excellence.
In their 18th year, the awards were supported by Spring Singapore and the Singapore Tourism Board. They were presented by guest-of-honour Sim Ann from the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and Ministry of Trade and Industry.
The award for Best New Entrant of the Year went to The Prestigious, Bespoke Tailors. The business combines traditional master tailoring with a modern fashion boutique, and was founded by master tailor Thomas Wong. Every commission is handcrafted in Singapore and completed in-house. The boutique has a see-through workshop, and each patron can choose his own tailor and craftsman.
Victoria’s Secret, Mandarin Gallery, took the Best Retail Concept of the Year Award. The two-storey flagship store, spanning more than 12,000sqft (1115sqm) opened last November. Singapore is the first Asian territory to have the full assortment including Victoria Sport and Victoria Secret’s Secret Pink range. Customers are encouraged to interact with the product against a background of music, videos, oversized chandeliers and elaborate displays of lingerie-clad mannequins seated on tables. The store offers personalised fittings at its 24 fitting rooms, and has 12 bra specialists.
The award for Best Retail Event of the Year went to the Pokemon at Changi Airport promotion by Changi Airport Group. Ten life-size Pikachus were in a launch parade last November, and the terminals were decked out with Pokemon-inspired festive decorations including a gingerbread house, Christmas trees and candy canes. A larger-than-life Pikachu greeted visitors, and the 8m Christmas tree was decorated with Pokemon baubles. Inside the gingerbread house was Santa’s Workshop and Mrs Claus’ Confectionary. There were also Pokemon activations and exclusive prizes for shoppers. The event was covered by 25 million social-media users globally.
Ion Orchard won the award for Best Efforts in Corporate Social Responsibility. Its calendar of Yuletide entertainment and dining options included a Christmas tree decorated by Tiffany & Co., and a fantasy maze. Ion Orchard’s Christmas campaign, in collaboration with the National Council of Social Service and Rainbow Centre, took the Christmas spirit to children with developmental needs. Students from Rainbow Centre designed the mall’s festive gift wrappers and greeting cards. The mall also partnered with Club 21 Accessories in a Christmas pop-up store where 10 per cent of proceeds from the sales of exclusive designer products were channeled to Rainbow Centre. A Rainbow event at Ion Art Gallery displayed artworks co-created by Rainbow Centre students and Singapore celebrities, with more than $300,000 being raised for Community Chest and Rainbow Centre.
The winners of the Manager of the Year and Young Executive of the Year Awards each received a
$4000 educational grant from the SRA, while the finalists each received a $500 reward.
Cold Storage operations manager Denesh Kumar Sreetharam won the Manager of the Year Award. He introduced report automation to streamline procedure, set up focus groups for specific business strategies to increase sales, and initiated a talent-development program.
The Young Executive of the Year Award went to Singtel Shop Comcentre technical manager Vinay Kumar Khunger, who started at Singtel in 2012 as a retail executive. Within two years he was promoted to senior status, and advanced to being a technical manager shortly after. Working with a team of 50, he helped Comcentre clinch the Best Shop of the Year Award for two consecutive years. The shop had a customer experience score of 96 per cent last year. Khunger won the brand’s Customer Recognition and Extra Mile Awards in 2012, as well as the Excellence Service Award in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Also on the program were the annual SRA Shopping Centre Awards, with voting by tenants who are SRA members. The winners were Parkway Parade for Best Efforts in Centre Management, and Plaza Singapura for Best Efforts in Advertising & Promotion.
More than 600 retailers and their associates attended the awards event, at Raffles City Convention Centre, with SRA president R Dhinakaran urging retailers “to take the leap and embrace technology as the new ‘modus operandi’ to stay competitive”.