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‘Middle East Retail Academy: 2009 Awards’

by Stuart Wilson, Wednesday 11 March 2009

The ‘Middle East Retail Academy (MERA): 2009 Awards’ gala dinner and live voting session will take place on 20th May 2009 in Fujairah, UAE. The awards, which are held in conjunction with Digital Consumer Channel (DCC) Middle East & Africa (MEA), recognise excellence in the region’s consumer electronics and IT retail channel. A total of 22 awards are up for grabs in 2009 with categories for vendors, retailers and distributors.

“The ‘Middle East Retail Academy: 2009 Awards’ is built on an independent vendor neutral platform. These awards represent the ultimate accolade for vendors, retailers and distributors and will showcase the wealth of professional talent that exists in the Middle East retail channel,” explained Farouk Hemraj, organiser of the MERA 2009 Awards.

The MERA Awards were successfully launched in 2008. Radically different from traditional award ceremonies, the MERA Awards are built on a truly independent platform allowing the entire channel community to vote for their preferred candidates in the appropriate categories. The gala dinner and live voting session takes place at Le Meridien Al Aqah, Fujairah, UAE.

Find out details of last year’s winning retailers here and successful vendors here.

Hemraj added: "The feedback for the MERA Awards 2008 was overwhelmingly positive, but we have also acted on the suggestions of participating vendors and retailers. This has seen the introduction of country-specific awards for important markets such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt and Levant.”

Vendor categories

The MERA 2009 Awards include eight categories for vendors, which will be voted for by retailers. More than 100 pre-qualified ICT and CE retail executives from across the Middle East market attending DCC MEA vote for these awards during the live voting session.

Each executive has been carefully vetted to ensure that only the most senior retail executives participate in the voting process. The quality of the voting community and their regional spread means that these vendor awards are highly coveted prizes that reflect on a vendor’s real standing in the regional retail community.

Prior to the live voting session a Selection Committee made up of the region’s leading retailers decide on the pre-selection of the five nominees for each award. The eight vendor awards up for grabs are:

1. Desktop/Notebooks/Netbooks: Retail Vendor of the Year

2. Digital Lifestyle: Retail Vendor of the Year

3. Accessories: Retail Vendor of the Year

4. Peripherals & Printing: Retail Vendor of the Year

5. Mobile Communications: Retail Vendor of the Year

6. LCD/Plasma TVs: Retail Vendor of the Year

7. Middle East Retail: Overall Vendor of the Year

8. Special Achievement for Outstanding Retail Channel Development

Retailers voting will be asked to judge vendors on a number of factors including channel management strategy, inventory management, margin potential, co-marketing schemes, merchandising activity, product training and customer support.

Recognising retailers

The number of awards for retailers has been expanded to 10 for the MERA 2009 Awards. Members of the VIP Vendor Jury and vendor executives attending DCC MEA and involved in selling products through the Middle East ICT & CE retail channel will vote for these awards. Prior to the voting a Selection Committee made up of the leading vendors and retail distributors decide on the pre-selection of the 5 nominees for each award.

These awards recognise the Middle East ICT & CE retailers that have excelled during the past year in the following categories:

1. Hypermarket / Big Box Retailer of the Year – UAE & Gulf

2. Hypermarket / Big Box Retailer of the Year – Saudi Arabia

3. Hypermarket / Big Box Retailer of the Year – Egypt & Levant

4. Mall-based / Specialist Retailer of the Year – UAE & Gulf

5. Mall-based / Specialist Retailer of the Year – Saudi Arabia

6. Mall-based / Specialist Retailer of the Year – Egypt & Levant

7. Retail Executive of the Year – UAE & Gulf

8. Retail Executive of the Year – Saudi Arabia

9. Retail Executive of the Year – Egypt & Levant

10. Store Concept of the Year

Retailers and retail executives will be assessed on a number of categories including customer satisfaction, sales growth, corporate social responsibility, profitability, store experience, vendor relations, innovation and service levels.

Distributor awards

Rounding off the MERA 2009 Awards will be four categories for retail distributors – the vital link between vendors and retailers. Prior to the live voting session a selection committee made up of the region’s leading retailers decide on the pre-selection of the five nominees for each of the four distributor award categories:

1. Volume Retail Distributor of the Year – Middle East

2. Specialist Retail Distributor of the Year – UAE & Gulf

3. Specialist Retail Distributor of the Year – Saudi Arabia

4. Specialist Retail Distributor of the Year – Egypt & Levant

Retailers will judge distributors based on criteria including channel management strategy, inventory management, margin potential, co-marketing schemes, merchandising activity, logistics and support.

“The ‘Middle East Retail Academy: 2009 Awards’ are firmly established as the region’s premier awards ceremony for the ICT and CE retail channel. Vendor-neutral and independent, these awards truly recognise excellence in the Middle East retail channel,” commented Hemraj.

“For senior members of the vendor, distributor and retailer community working in the Middle East CE & ICT channel, these awards also represent an incredible networking opportunity. The live transparent voting process adds real excitement to the evening,” he continued.

“Across the wider Middle East market, there is still a real vibrancy and energy within the retail channel as more and more consumers switch on and look to purchase digital products. The MERA 2009 Awards are an opportunity for all those involved to look back on what they have achieved, but also to start planning for the rest of 2009 and beyond,” Hemraj concluded.

Quick Facts:

The MERA Awards take place on May 20th 2009

The MERA Awards were launched in 2008

The MERA Awards are held in conjunction with DCC MEA

DCC MEA takes place from May 19th-21st

DCC MEA is organised by DISTREE Events

For more information on the MERA Awards and DCC MEA 2009, please contact fhemraj@distree.com

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