Area and world foods managers from Morrisons were among the winners of the annual Specsavers everywoman in Retail Ambassadors awards, announced last night at a ceremony in central London.
Women executives from Asda, Dixons Carphone, QVC and DFS were also selected as Ambassadors and role models for the next generation of women pursuing a career in retail.
Lucy Denton, area manager at Morrisons in South Wales, was named 2014 Woman of the Year. Denton has worked her way up from the shop floor to her current role as the only female area manager in the UK’s fourth largest grocer. Denton is responsible for 20 stores, an annual turnover of £520m (averaging around £10m per week), and a headcount of 4,500.
Noor Ali, world foods manager at Morrisons, joined Denton on the podium. Ali became Morrisons’ first world foods manager in 2012, tasked with re-launching the ethnic food range to cater for a more diverse customer base. Making it her goal to thoroughly understand the requirements of the customers, she partnered with 85 suppliers to grow the category from 500 lines to over 1,350. By introducing 850 new skus, three new cuisines (African, Far Eastern, Halal) and three new categories (food, bakery, halal meat) she is responsible for increasing year-on-year sales by 146%.
Amanda Cox, vice president – people central, Asda, was recognised as an Ambassador for her development of Asda’s Woman in Leadership Programme, initially set up in 2013 to address the imbalance of female store managers. This is reported to have left a lasting legacy within the business, as the programme has been rolled out as a permanent development programme, not just for retail, but also for Asda’s logistics services and home office.
Maxine Benson, co-founder of everywoman, said: “In the last quarter, Britain’s retailers saw the strongest sales in 10 years; this is an industry offering great career opportunities. Collectively our 12 Ambassadors demonstrate the vast range of diverse talents the industry requires and the career opportunities available. By becoming champions for the retail profession, our Ambassadors will share their passion and drive for the industry, acting as role models who will encourage talented young women looking for a challenging and rewarding career to view retail as a viable and appealing option.”
Dame Mary Perkins, founder of Specsavers, said: “The 2014 Specsavers everywoman in Retail Ambassadors are incredible businesswomen and an inspiration to future generations of women in retail. As a proud supporter and patron of everywoman, I am often asked what makes Specsavers successful. It’s quite simple really – always treat people how you would like to be treated. That applies to employees as well as customers. If you get this right then your business will grow. But never rest on your laurels. At Specsavers we have an ethos of never being satisfied, of having unrelenting drive and passion.”
Dave Hobday, managing director at sponsor, Worldpay UK, said: “Every day we work with thousands of women in retail, so we’re delighted to be sponsoring the Specsavers everywoman in Retail Ambassadors and proud to be helping them grow their business. The programme is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate this success and at the same time inspire the next generation of female leaders. An energetic, ever-changing UK high street creates opportunities for all.”
The 2014 Specsavers everywoman in Retail Ambassadors are:
- Noor Ali, world foods manager, Morrisons, from Leeds
- Heather Blackman, managing director, commercial, Hotel Chocolat, from Royston
- Laura Chiddey, upholstery buyer, DFS trading, from Doncaster
- Amanda Cox, vice president – people central, Asda, from Leeds
- Maleka Dattu, creator and founder, MERUMAYA Integrative Effective Skincare, from London
- Lucy Denton, area manager, Morrisons, from South Wales, also chosen as the 2014 Woman of the Year
- Harriet Hastings, managing director/founder, Biscuiteers, from London
- Charlotte Imrie, boutique manager, Sweaty Betty, from Nottingham
- Jo Lee, buying director of Beauty and Jewellery, QVC UK, from London
- Nicola Thody, commercial development manager, Dixons Retail, from London
- Dominque Tillen, managing director, Brush-Baby, from Winchester
- Clare Wardle, group general counsel, Kingfisher, from London