Retail Council of Canada Honours Excellence at National Conference

Retail Council of Canada presented 12 prestigious industry awards at last Excellence in Retail Awards Dinner. The awards recognize the retail industry's top achievers in a variety of categories and were presented as part of STORE 2011 — Canada's Retail Conference. This year's submissions came from a diverse range of small, mid-size and large retailers in almost every retail category and highlighted new and creative innovations in areas ranging from corporate social responsibility to store design.

The 2011 winners are:

Retail In-Store Merchandising Award

Walmart Canada - Fashion by George: Walmart Apparel's Extreme Makeover

The Extreme Makeover vision leveraged George as the primary fashion brand for Walmart Canada, in order to become a one-stop shop for apparel solutions at unbeatable prices for the entire family. Walmart wanted to simplify and clarify their offering for customers by consolidating over 20 private label apparel brands under the mono fashion "George" brand. Walmart had an opportunity to provide Canadian consumers with unbeatable prices, the right style and dependable quality: hence the George Value Equation was born.  Walmart redesigned departments by gender and commodity, ensuring ease of shopping and buying assignments. The company overhauled the apparel sections in 319 stores with new floor plans, fixtures, signage and merchandise. The in-store redesign created a "store within a store" feel, through high impact signage while differentiating apparel departments. The extreme makeover saw double digit sales growth of George merchandise.

e-Retailing Award

Black's Photo Corporation - Teach + Create + Inspire = Competitive Advantage

The retail photography sector has experienced a 22 per cent decrease with respect to money spent by their customers for film processing and photo printing due to the advent of digital technology and an increased tendency by consumers to save rather than print photos. As a result, Black's Photography developed an e-initiative ( that would assist customers in establishing a new routine to capture, print, share and store digital photography. Black's realized the need to create an online environment that would seamlessly integrate a traditional e-commerce shopping experience, photo storage, best in class editing and printing experience and a social network component that would incorporate photo sharing, blogs and videos. based its strategic vision on the premise of "Teach + Inspire + Create" to build a competitive advantage by helping customers establish new routines, continuous engagement and interaction, increasing customer traffic and conversions, and improved revenue growth.

Retail Community Outreach Award

TELUS Corporation - TELUS Go Pink Campaign "Unleashing the Power of Pink" (Mid Retailer)

TELUS harnessed the energy of their customers, employees and leading breast cancer charities by promoting the power of pink through a milestone campaign. The Go Pink campaign was developed to support both TELUS sales and community investment objectives concerning the improvement of mammography equipment available in communities. The campaign allowed supporters to get involved by purchasing a pink Smartphone, turning their Facebook profile pink through a custom Go Pink app, and by engaging employees by commenting on pink-marked Intranet stories through a Spot the Pink Chameleon campaign. For each action, TELUS made a donation to support increased opportunities for early cancer screening. In addition to the tangible community benefits created by over $2.45 million in donations, Go Pink supported the health of Canadian women by promoting early breast cancer detection. Through social media, the results of the media relations and word-of-mouth efforts, TELUS reached millions of people with the Go Pink message.

Staples Canada - Give a Toonie. Share a Dream (Large Retailer)

Staples Canada is a strong supporter of Special Olympics Canada. The company not only sponsors the organization, but hires athletes as part-time associates to work in their stores. The value of donations had been declining in recent years under the previous campaign, "Give a Dollar. Share a Dream". In order to excite stakeholders about the 2010 campaign, the title was changed to "Give a Toonie. Share a Dream". The focus of the initiative was to increase the amount of financial support Special Olympics receives for their athletes, while raising awareness of the Staples and SOC partnership. The company wanted to engage those in the local communities to support the cause as well as support those living with intellectual disabilities, the athletes and their families. The Staples Canada used social media, sales promotion tools, special events and news releases to gain momentum for the cause.

Retail Employee Development Award

West 49 Incorporated - Resource Protection E-learning Series (Mid Retailer)

West 49 Inc's Resource Protection E-learning series is a training program that has been critical in conveying key prevention techniques that connect with and inspire the youth within the organization. These youth are expected to not only provide exceptional customer service but to also identify suspicious customer behaviour, reduce the opportunity for theft and recover the product before the customer leaves the store. West 49's objective was to ensure Sales Associates have the attitude, skills and knowledge necessary to identify shoplifting and dishonest employee behaviours that would result in a higher degree of prevention across the banners and a lower shrink for the company. Program solution components included "Inspire, Learn and Do" modules. Results of the program involved a 28 per cent reduction from the previous year's shrink rate, which was the lowest shrink result that the organization has had in over five years.

Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation - WE ID - A Challenging Program (Large Retailer)

The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation is dedicated to going beyond its legal obligations to improve ID challenge compliance, identifying the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages to minors as a key priority for its business. The NSLC's WE ID program now requires that employees request photo ID from all customers appearing to be under the age of 30 instead of 25. The NSLC developed the new program, ensuring that employees would have the necessary tools to confidently and consistently control the sale of alcoholic beverages. WE ID is supported by in-store materials developed to educate customers and a comprehensive training program for all employees through NSLC's online learning centre.

Retail Marketing Communications Award

Holt, Renfrew & Co., Limited - Happy Christmas From Holt Renfrew (Mid Retailer)

The fully integrated "Happy Christmas" campaign was designed to position Holt Renfrew as the premiere shopping destination to meet all holiday gift-giving needs. Items were made available at a variety of price points, delivered through the excitement and anticipation of receiving a gift wrapped in the iconic Holt Renfrew magenta box. Messaging for the campaign focused on the "accessible" with a hint of the "aspirational", reflecting the Holt Renfrew product mix and breadth of brands, appealing to both existing and new customers. The Happy Christmas message was delivered to an enhanced audience with a strong message and consistent voice in print, online and in Holt Renfrew stores. Campaign elements included a mix of mass outreach and targeted initiatives delivered through sales promotion, direct marketing, advertising, digital marketing, in-store experiences and public relations.

Shoppers Drug Mart - Optimum 10th Birthday Celebration (Large Retailer)

In just ten years, the Shoppers Optimum card has grown to become Canada's #1 retail loyalty program with 10.5 million members.  To thank their customers, Shoppers invited them to celebrate Optimum's 10th birthday by joining the company in a four-week celebration.  The objectives of the event were to drive incremental vendor and corporate brand sales to increase market share, acquire new Optimum cardholders, motivate members to obtain the Optimum MasterCard, engage Optimum shoppers to strengthen their long-term relationship with the company and engage the 40,000 Shoppers Drug Mart employees to celebrate the birthday.  The integrated campaign included mass advertising in newspaper, radio and magazine, in -store promotions, birthday street parties, staff engagement and online celebrations.

Retail Sustainability Award

Sears Canada Inc. - Live Green at Sears: Reducing Our Footprint...Helping Canadians Reduce Theirs

Live Green at Sears is a program to help reduce the company's environmental footprint and to help their customers do the same. In 2008, Sears Canada committed to a 20 per cent reduction in their carbon footprint by 2013. They are on pace to beat that target with innovative programs which have already reduced their footprint by more than 15 per cent. Experts agree that the footprint of customers using products bought at retail is at least ten (and up to a hundred) times as large as the retailers' footprint. Therefore, they continue to innovate how they help Canadians minimize their footprint with tools such as the Cost and Carbon Calculator and services such as the Home Energy Tune-Up.

Retail Store Design

Black's Photo Corporation - Caya: Diversity + Differentiation = Competitive Advantage (Mid Retailer)

Located in downtown Vancouver, Caya, (Come As You Are), is a store with a new perspective. Offering the latest TELUS products and services, stylish accessories, imaging and printing technology from Black's Photography, it is where the worlds of mobility, photography, entertainment, accessories and style come together. With a focus on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community, as well as their allies, Caya celebrates the individuality in all of us and supports initiatives that help others be themselves, fully and openly. It is the first store concept of its kind in Canada and possibly the world. The Caya brand is designed to be disarming, fresh and engaging, delivered through unpretentious luxury and coupled with a best-in-class customer experience evolving to reflect the community, not just technology.

Staples Canada Inc - easytech 4business (Large Retailer - Tie)

Staples set out to transform their stores existing design into a technology showcase that engages clients in new ways. Integrated into this design is an entirely new business model that incorporates a new service - an account-managed, professional IT team -"solutions 4business" - dedicated to servicing small and medium-sized businesses. This new service advances Staples' transition from office supplies retailer to total solution provider. The purpose of the new design was to showcase hardware technology as a primary objective, while providing decompression space, allowing customers the assessment time they need before becoming engaged. This space would include a consultation station and room and a business product showroom to introduce the latest business technology products and new ways of utilizing such technology to better manage a business.

LCBO Oakville - Reimagining the Flagship - Redefining the Customer Experience (Large Retailer - Tie)

Offering a similar experience to urban counterparts, while serving an affluent demographic, this flagship store combines thoughtful design with cutting-edge features. Nestled in a prestigious bedroom community, this 12,000 square-foot location is the LCBO's most customer-focused store. It is a full-service store that addresses the needs and interests of highly-educated, upscale demographic with discerning tastes. The LCBO's specific mandate was to maximize the shopping experience, operational efficiency and deliver their vision to "inspire, guide and delight". The overall aim was to encourage customers to take more time to browse while also providing convenience for those who are pressed for time. Conceived as a double-volume space washed with natural light, and balanced with intimate gathering hubs, a new level of customer experience is achieved.

Retail Technology Award

Pier 1 Imports - Big !deas Session - Technology as an Enabler of Store Performance and Operations

With the goal of improving customer service through better management and deployment of their workforce, Pier 1 Imports implemented the Dayforce Workforce Management Solution across their organization in Canada and the USA. Dayforce is a complete workforce management solution with functionality including labour budgeting, forecasting and scheduling, time and attendance, human resources, employee self-service, and task management. With this technology, Pier 1 provides their store managers with the ability to ensure that the right associate is available to their customers, at the right time. Pier 1 made labour information visible across the organization. They leveraged Dayforce's user-friendly SaaS solution, avoiding large up-front expenses to achieve maximum ROI while improving store performance and profitability.


on June 13, 2011