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MERA: 2009 Awards nominations announced

by Stuart Wilson, Friday 8 May 2009

The nominees for the ‘Middle East Retail Academy (MERA): 2009 Awards’ have been announced after a preliminary round of voting by senior executives from the retailer and vendor community. There are a total of 22 ‘MERA: 2009 Awards’ with five nominees selected for each accolade. The final live electronic voting takes place at the ‘MERA: 2009 Awards’ Gala Dinner, held in conjunction with Digital Consumer Channel (DCC) MEA 2009 on May 20th 2009 in Fujairah, UAE.

The MERA Awards were launched in 2008, creating a clear and transparent platform to recognise excellence in the region’s consumer electronics and ICT channel, with awards for vendors, distributors and retailers.

“The MERA Awards have set the benchmark for channel awards in the region,” said Farouk Hemraj, CEO at DISTREE Events, the awards organiser. “The MERA Awards are an integral part of the DCC MEA experience and the live electronic voting that takes place during the Gala Dinner ensures that each and every award winner is a worthy recipient.”

“Each and every nominee should also be congratulated on their achievement,” added Hemraj. “We look forward to meeting all of them at the MERA Awards Gala Dinner. The quality of the audience during DCC MEA continues to improve year-on-year. It is firmly established as the only ‘must attend’ event for senior executives in the regional channel. We are grateful for the ongoing support from retailers, distributors and vendors.”

Over the past few weeks, an executive committee of senior retail executives has taken part in a blind vote to shortlist five nominees for each vendor award. Simultaneously, an executive panel of retail executives has undertaken a similar exercise to come up with the shortlist of nominated vendors.

Samsung and Sony lead the way with nominations for five separate award categories, with HP receiving four and both Acer and LG receiving three. Apple, Belkin, Philips and WD all secured two nominations each.

Vendors were assessed on a number of criteria including channel management strategy, inventory management, margin potential, co-marketing support, merchandising, training and customer support. The confirmed nominees for the vendor awards are (in alphabetical order):

Desktop/Notebooks/Netbooks: Retail Vendor of the Year – Acer, Dell, HP, Sony, Toshiba

Digital Lifestyle: Retail Vendor of the Year – Apple, Canon, Philips, Samsung, Sony

Accessories: Retail Vendor of the Year – Apple, Belkin, Microsoft, Sandisk, Targus

Peripherals & Printing: Retail Vendor of the Year – Belkin, HP, Linksys (Cisco), Samsung, WD

Mobile Communications: Retail Vendor of the Year - HTC, LG, Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson

LCD/Plasma TVs: Retail Vendor of the Year – LG, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sony

Middle East Retail: Overall Vendor of the Year – HP, LG, Nokia, Samsung, Sony

Special Achievement for Outstanding Retail Channel Development – Acer, HTC, LG, Samsung, Sony

Channel Manager of the Year – Satya Rangadam (Acer), Wael El Chami (HP), Kiran Nair (Imation), Hamshi Ravindran (RIM-Blackberry), Khaled Wani (WD)

During the awards ceremony, hundreds of senior channel executives will be asked to vote live for their preferred candidates using handheld electronic devices. At the beginning of the evening, vendors and retailers eligible to vote will receive a booklet outlining the achievements and plans of all the nominated companies and individuals to aid them in their decision-making process.

In terms of retailers, Carrefour leads the way with 11 nominations spread across eight award categories. Jarir Bookstore, Emax, Plug-Ins, Sharaf DG, CompuMe, Electro, Extra and Al Ghanim all secured nominations in three award categories.

The executive committee assessed retailers on a number of criteria including customer satisfaction, sales growth, corporate social responsibility, profitability, store experience, vendor relations, innovation and service levels. The confirmed nominees for the retailer awards are (in alphabetical order):

Hypermarket / Big Box Retailer of the Year: UAE – Carrefour, Emax, Lulu, Plug-Ins, Sharaf DG

Mall-based / Specialist Retailer of the Year: UAE – CompuMe, Jacky’s, Jumbo, Plug-Ins, Sharaf DG

Hypermarket / Big Box Retailer of the Year: Saudi Arabia – Carrefour, Electro, Extra, Jarir Bookstore, Panda

Mall-based / Specialist Retailer of the Year: Saudi Arabia - Best Electronics City, Electro, Emax, Extra, Jarir Bookstore

Retailer of the Year: Rest of Gulf – Al Ghanim, Eureka Trading, Geant Bahrain, Emax Oman, Carrefour Qatar

Retailer of the Year: Egypt & Levant - Carrefour Egypt, CompuMe Egypt, Khoury Home, Radioshack, Smart Buy

Retail Executive of the Year: UAE – Vijit Channa (Jumbo), Mahesh Chotrani (Jacky’s), N.R. Ganeshan (Carrefour), Emad Jaddo (CompuMe), Shyam Sunder (Sharaf DG)

Retail Executive of the Year: Saudi Arabia – Mohammed Azheruddin (Carrefour), Samih Al Hmoud (Panda), Alameh Jino (Electro), V. Manoharan (Jarir Bookstore), Wassim Mrad (Extra)

Retail Executive of the Year: Rest of Gulf – Hakim Amar (Al Ghanim - Kuwait), Frederic Bastide (Carrefour - Qatar), Lies Chabbi (Carrefour - Kuwait), Essam Al Hanssy (Eureka - Kuwait), Aamir J. Khan (Emax, Oman)

Retail Executive of the Year: Egypt & Levant - Eyad Al Hasan (Carrefour - Egypt), Pamela Antaki (Antaki - Lebanon), Hady El Zein (Beirut Duty Free - Lebanon), Wael Mohamed (Carrefour - Egypt), Amr Shiera (CompuMe - Egypt)

The ‘MERA: 2009 Awards’ also include two awards for distributors and one for retail store concept of the year based on applications from participating companies. These applications have now been assessed and evaluated by the executive committees. The five preferred entries have received a full nomination.

Middle East Store Concept of the Year - Emax, Extra, Jumbo, Plug-Ins, Sharaf DG

Volume Retail Distributor of the Year: Middle East - Al Yousuf, Asbis, Emitac, FDC, Redington

Specialist Retail Distributor of the Year: Middle East - Ashley, Genius, ITE, LS2 Derinton, Pluto

ICT and CE-focused retailers and vendors from across the Middle East will gather later this month at the fifth annual Digital Consumer Channel (DCC) Middle East & Africa (MEA) event, which will take place from May 19th to 21st 2009. The region’s premier event for the consumer electronics (CE), communications and ICT retail channel continues to go from strength to strength, offering a compelling mix of one-on-one meetings, conference sessions, awards and networking opportunities for retailers, distributors and vendors.

Retailers will have the opportunity to review the latest products from the 50-plus vendors set to attend this year’s event. With retailers attending from 15-plus countries, attending DCC MEA offers vendors insight into markets across the region and the opportunity to accelerate or improve their go-to-market retail strategy.

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