Judging Process

If there’s one thing that really makes the Retail Industry Awards stand out from the crowd, it’s the robust, thorough and open nature of the judging process.


  • Judging starts in May with an initial sorting process for entries into the Independent Retailer of the Year category, after which our lead judging partner John Heagney will go out on the road to visit all the stores that make it through to the second stage.


  • For the majority of categories, judging takes place during a packed two days of back-to-back sessions at the end of June. Panels are made up of retailers, ex-retailers, industry experts, analysts and sector leaders, who scrutinise written submissions, photos and videos as well as bringing their own industry knowledge to bear on the decisions.


  • In the Symbol/Franchise Group of the Year category, entrants give face-to-face presentations and answer questions from our very own group of retail “dragons” before the judges decide on the winner. The panel is made up predominantly of leading independent retailers from each of the major symbol groups.


  • In July, a panel of sector experts comes together to judge the winners of Independent Retailer of the Year, basing their decisions on financial data and unannounced visits, as well as store videos and retailer interviews.


  • The winners of our Product Launch of the Year awards are decided by readers of Independent Retail News, hundreds of whom send in their voting forms over a six-week period during the summer.