Britain’s shopworkers and delivery drivers have been celebrated along with retail giants at the 27th annual Retail Week Awards sponsored by Salesforce.

The awards celebrate retail’s frontline heroes, biggest innovations and most successful businesses in what has been another challenging year for the sector, with Tesco, HelloFresh and ASOS being awarded top prizes during the sparkling London ceremony on 26 May.

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And this year’s judging panel was made up of an impressive line-up of 15 experts, such as Liz Evans, Managing Director of Asda, John Lyttle, CEO of Boohoo, Manju Malhotra, CEO of Harvey Nichols and Pano Christou, CEO of Pret.

This year’s winners include:

Jhorvis Tyrell, a warehouse operative at Marks & Spencer in Castle Donington, Derby, won the American Express Distribution and Delivery Hero Award. Judges described his strength in overcoming challenges caused by long-term unemployment, a learning disability and visual impairment and the tragic deaths of his father and grandfather as a ‘beautiful story of human endeavour.’

The prize’s runner-up John Mark Brown was hailed a lifesaver for preventing a fire from engulfing a Co-op store and neighbouring buildings and businesses in in Alloway, near Ayr in Scotland. The delivery driver acted quickly to move a smoking delivery lorry away from the store’s delivery bay and neighbouring businesses and unhooked its trailer before it caught fire.

The Parcel Pending by Quadient Store Hero Award was awarded to M&S Falkirk store manager Brian Torley for leading his shop’s transformation into a top three M&S Foodhall whilst bringing his team and the community together following the traffic deaths of two colleagues and his sister.

And the winner of The Page Group Diversity Champion Award, EE store manager Prince Okoro, was singled out by judges for going ‘above and beyond’ in driving change across the business and ensuring his colleagues in Dalston, London, took part in initiatives to embrace the diversity aof their store’s local community.

Meanwhile Tesco fought off the competition to win the prestigious Microsoft Grocer of the Year Award. Judges said: “Tesco keeps reinventing itself and is now using Clubcard to deliver great results. It’s a data-driven, promotional transformation which is going down really well with customers and showing up in their increased market share.”

With sustainability and the race to net zero high on the global agenda, Co-op was awarded the Relex Responsible Retailer Award. Judges commented: “Responsibility is immersed in everything Co-op does and it’s just miles ahead of anybody else. It’s more aggressive in terms of plastic recycling and set the example when it comes to carbon neutrality.

ASOS was awarded the The Adyen Fashion Retailer of the Year Award. Judges said: ASOS were our first choice for the way they have reinvented and moved forward over the last year. It’s an incredibly complex business model and with the integration of Topshop, they have saved a British Icon.”

Ascential’s Price & Promo Specialty Retailer was awarded to popular meal-kit company,Hello Fresh. A nod to the fact that the food delivery phenomenon is here to stay, given the pandemic’s lasting impact on changing consumer habits.

And The Very Group won The Salesforce Best Retailer over £250m, following a rapid growth in sales and customers during the pandemic, as well as The Salesforce Best Place to Work, with the online retailer now ranked as the best UK retailer for work-life balance by job site Glassdoor. Judges said: “They know who their customers are and they’re excellent at serving them. Their passionate commitment to their people also comes through loud and clear.”

Individual trophies were also presented to:

  • The Okta Retail Activist: Jo Whitfield, chief executive of food at The Co-op
  • The Retail Leader: Roger Whiteside, CEO of Greggs
  • Outstanding Contribution to Retail: Theo Paphitis, Chair, Theo Paphitis Retail Group
The AlixPartners Outstanding Contribution to Retail Award winner Theo Paphitis, Chair, Theo Paphitis Retail Group

Hanna Jackson, Retail Week Managing Director, commented: “The future of shopping is exciting, with new technology paving the way for more immersive experiences, and changing customer behaviour driving product and business model innovation. Our award winners show that UK retailers have remained focused on innovating their businesses, products and experiences despite another difficult year for the industry.”

The Retail Week Awards 2022, whose headline sponsor is Salesforce, is a symbol of excellence in the retail sector, providing a platform for industry-wide recognition and a celebration of outstanding work.

Full list of winners:

The Okta Retail Activist: Jo Whitfield, Chief Executive of Food at The Co-op

Retail Leader: Roger Whiteside, Greggs

The AlixPartners Outstanding Contribution to Retail Award: Theo Paphitis, Chair, Theo Paphitis Retail Group

The Microsoft Grocer of the year

  • Winner: Tesco
  • Silver: Marks & Spencer

The Adyen Fashion retailer of the year Award

  • Winner: ASOS
  • Silver: H&M U.K. & Ireland

Best retailer under £250m

  • Winner: REISS

The Salesforce Best Retailer over £250m Award

  • Winner: The Very Group

The Salesforce Best Place to Work Award

  • Winner: The Very Group

Ascential’s Price & Promo Specialty retailer of the year

  • Winner: HelloFresh

The Relex Responsible Retailer Award

  • Winner: The Co-op

Best New Store Award

  • Winner: Situ Live, Westfield Shopping Centre, London
  • Silver: Eataly London

The EXL Customer Experience Award

  • Winner: Screwfix Sprint

Best Own Brand Range or Product Award

  • Winner: Simply Be – Own Brand Lingerie, N Brown

The Parcel Pending by Quadient Store Hero Award

  • Winner: Brian Torley, Store Manager, M&S Falkirk
  • Silver: Joanne Hammond, Store Manager, Poundland
  • Silver: Steve Tappin, Store Manager, Holland & Barrett

The American Express Distribution and Delivery Hero Award

  • Winner: Jhorvis Tyrell, Warehouse Operative, M&S
  • Silver: John Mark Brown, Delivery Driver. The Co-Op
  • Bronze: Andrew Wiseman, LGV Team Manager, Ocado Group

The SAP Head office hero Award

  • Winner: People Team, New Look

The Page Group Diversity Champion Award

  • Winner: Prince Okoro, Store Manager, EE
  • Silver: Peter Batt, Divisional Managing Director, The Co-Op