John Heagney Consulting

Every year, we see the bar being raised higher and higher and this is testament to the strength, innovative quality and entrepreneurial individuality of the stores that are entered into the awards. There is no doubt that 2018 will be another year where we will be assessing the most outstanding stores.

John Heagney Consulting are delighted to have been again selected as the lead judging partner and take the process very seriously. We continue develop, strengthen and refine the selection process for the Independent Retailer of the Year, providing a format with robust multi-stage assessment processes that ensures the very best retailers are the winners.

The final judging session is undertaken by a panel of experienced independent retailers, symbol group heads and sector analysts, guided by the retail experts who have carried out unannounced store visits and very detailed assessments that includes extensive video and still photography of every store. This methodology is industry-leading and will again categorically select the “very best of the best” retailers and stores in the UK.

The retail experts are led by John Heagney, an industry stalwart with an immense knowledge of the sector along with retail experts Jemima Bird, Martin Williams and Guy Ousey. Each of these experts has a great depth of knowledge and passion for the sector and a real desire to see excellence in independent food retailing, all have exceptional industry track records and we are delighted to be working with each of them.

Retail Experts

  Martin Williams

Martin has worked in the grocery trade for over 40 years since leaving secondary school. He recently left Landmark Wholesale having been a Director for 19 years of which 14 of them were as Managing Director.

He has completed 3 years as Chairman of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, which represents £30 Billion of turnover from UK Wholesalers.

Martin also spearheaded the development of the award winning Lifestyle Express Symbol Group for Landmark, and believes passionately in helping retailers run better stores and now works part time for the Federation of Wholesale Distributors and runs his own Consultancy business specialising in his knowledge of the trade.

  Jemima Bird

Jemima has run her own brand consultancy for the last five years, during which time she led the transformation of Moss Bros and development of the new Trainline brand. She also led the rebranding of Café Rouge and Bella Italia and was the Marketing Director of Musgrave Retail Partners, where she implemented brand strategies for the Budgens and Londis brands. Two years ago, Co-op asked her to to lead the brand relaunch of its food business, including development of its iconic new design across advertising and in-store. She handed over the reins in January 2018 after steering several flagship initiatives as part of the root-and-branch rebrand, including a UK-first product placement deal with ITV’s Coronation Street.  Alongside advising businesses, Jemima also has a small portfolio of investments in private companies ranging from a film distributor in Soho, a small chain of Caribbean-themed restaurants, a turnaround fund and the owner of the Wisden cricket brand.  Jemima achieved a distinction in her MBA from Warwick Business School, also winning the best dissertation prize. She is a Non Executive Director of Revolutions Bars Group plc and was previously on the advisory boards of Skillsmart Retail and Change4Life.


  Guy Ousey

Guy leads IGD’s UK grocery retail research, focusing on the strategies being used to meet current and future shopper needs; responsible for delivering a mix of research outputs for IGD’s Retail Analysis service, building reports, delivering customised projects, briefings and events to help retailers and suppliers adapt and grow. 

Guy’s commercial experience is rooted in national account management and brand activation, prior to joining IGD, Guy led the retail delivery of the UK National Lottery in the convenience channel.

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