Independent categories 

Independent categories are open to independent convenience retailers operating 10 stores or fewer, whether or not they are affiliated to a symbol/franchise group. Entries should be for a single store unless otherwise stated.

Best Use of Technology – Independent

This award recognises operators who can demonstrate best-in-class use of technology within their business, whether that be online grocery retailing, digital marketing and social media, or in-store technologies such as shelf-edge labelling, self-checkout, media screens and payment apps.


  • Successful introduction of new systems that have worked for the benefit of the business
  • Innovation in the application of technology that has helped the retailer stand out from the competition
  • A strong return on investment, clear targets and demonstrable results

Chilled Retailer of the Year – Independent

This award recognises excellence in the retailing of chilled produce in-store, creating an offer that helps the business stand out from the crowd.


  • A chilled range that is tailored to the needs of customers
  • Good use of promotions and best-in-class merchandising solutions
  • Innovations and improvements to the category over the past 12 months
  • Operational excellence within the chilled category, including availability, hygiene and food safety 
  • Best practice in waste management

Drinks Retailer of the Year – Independent

This award recognises excellence in the area of beers, wines and spirits retailing – either within a stand-alone off-licence or an independent convenience store featuring a significant drinks offer. The winner will be a retailer that can demonstrate strong progress across the off-licence category.


  • Strong sales growth in alcoholic drinks
  • A clear strategic plan for developing the category
  • A stand-out offer in the off-licence category
  • Innovative and creative measures to grow sales
  • Well-trained and knowledgeable staff

Food-to-go Retailer of the Year – Independent

This award recognises retailers who can demonstrate excellence in the field of food-to-go (including hot and cold drinks) within an independent convenience store setting. Entries must be for a single store.


  • A food-to-go offer that meets customer needs and makes the retailer stand out
  • A clear strategy for developing the food-to-go offer
  • Innovation in new product development, marketing and promotions
  • Category development and operational excellence

Forecourt Retailer of the Year – Independent

This category is open to independently owned forecourt stores that are either standalone or form part of a chain of 10 stores or fewer. Entrants must own the freehold/lease of the site, not just the franchise.


  • Improved year-on-year financial performance
  • Great customer service and excellent site standards
  • Improvements to the business, differentiating it from the competition
  • Innovation and business development

Fresh Produce Retailer of the Year – Independent

The winner of this category will demonstrate success, innovation and creativity in the fresh produce category over the past 12 months.


  • A clear strategy for developing sales and offer in fresh produce
  • Strong relationships with growers and suppliers to achieve company objectives
  • Range innovation, in-store theatre and cross-merchandising
  • Differentiation from the competition

Independent Community Retailer of the Year

The Independent Community Retailer of the Year accolade recognises and rewards independent convenience retailers who are actively involved in their communities, looking at how a business works within the community for mutual benefit.


  • Support for charities and good causes
  • Staff education and involvement
  • Innovative ideas for community engagement
  • Strong communication of initiatives

Independent Retailer of the Year

This is the blue-riband award for independent retailers, recognising the best of the best in the small stores sector. Entrants may be either members of a symbol/fascia group or non-affiliated

Most Improved Store

This award is open to all independent convenience retailers, affiliated or non-affiliated. Judges will be looking for clear evidence of positive developments over a maximum two-year period to 1 April 2022


  • Understanding the needs of customers
  • Improvements and innovations undertaken
  • Measurable success in terms of sales, profits, footfall, basket spend
  • Return on investment

Most Sustainable Retailer Initiative of the Year – Independent

This award recognises a specific initiative by a grocery retailer aimed at improving the sustainability of its operations and/or enabling its customers to shop in a more environmentally friendly way.


  • The judges will be looking for original initiatives in areas such as: packaging and waste reduction, improving energy efficiency, reducing carbon footprint, responsible sourcing, stocking healthier choices, investing in and developing your workforce.
  • All entries should clearly demonstrate how retailers are pushing beyond legislative requirements.

Newcomer of the Year

The Newcomer of the Year award is designed to recognise some of the brightest rising stars in the independent convenience sector. The award is open to anyone who has joined the sector within the past two years (to 1 April 2022).


  • The winner will demonstrate innovation and enthusiasm and show how they have made a real impact on the business.
  • Judges will be looking for individuals who are regarded as outstanding talents in their field, have great business acumen and are seen as an inspiration to their peers.

Post Office Retailer of the Year – Independent

This category is for owners of independent convenience stores, including those belonging to a symbol/franchise group, whose outlet includes a post office counter or combination till.


  • The winning stores will be those that can clearly demonstrate how they integrate the two elements – post office services and grocery/impulse retail – to make a success of the overall business.
  • Judges will be looking for entries that show how each element works in tandem with the other to mutual benefit.

Store Manager of the Year – Independent

This award is open to store managers of independent convenience stores. Applicants should be employees rather than business owners. Managers may nominate themselves, or store owners may submit an entry on behalf of their store manager.


  • How managers have handled their teams to help make the business a success
  • A management approach that helps differentiate the store from its competitors
  • Innovations introduced over the past 12 months and how these have helped the business
  • Communication skills and staff motivation

Store Team of the Year – Independent

This award is open to teams working in individual, independently owned convenience stores


  • This award is designed to recognise store teams that go beyond the call of duty to deliver outstanding customer service and make a real difference to the business and the community they serve.
  • Judges will be looking to reward a team that can demonstrate how its hard work, expertise and enthusiasm have contributed significantly to the success of the business over the past 12 months.

Trailblazer of the Year

The Trailblazer of the Year award recognises up-and-coming talented individuals or pioneering businesses operating within the UK grocery retail sector.


  • Nominees must show evidence they have made a significant contribution to the industry during the past 12 months to 1 April 2022
  • Judges will look at the introduction and implementation of new ideas, original thinking and shopper understanding
  • They will also consider how an individual’s contribution has benefited the business financially