DISTREE Events, the organisers of leading Information Communications Technology events in the EMEA region, is hosting the annual ‘Middle East Retail Academy (MERA): 2009 Awards’ gala dinner and live voting session on 20th May 2009 in Fujairah, UAE. The awards, which are held in conjunction with Digital Consumer Channel (DCC) Middle East & Africa (MEA), recognise excellence in the region’s consumer electronics and IT retail channel. A total of 22 awards are up for grabs in 2009 with categories for vendors, retailers and distributors.


Farouk Hemraj, organiser of the MERA 2009 Awards, said, “The ‘Middle East Retail Academy: 2009 Awards’ are firmly established as the region’s premier awards ceremony for the ICT and CE retail channel. Vendor-neutral and independent, these awards truly recognise excellence in the Middle East retail channel. For senior members of the vendor, distributor and retailer community working in the Middle East CE & ICT channel, these awards also represent an incredible networking opportunity. The live transparent voting process adds real excitement to the evening.”

The MERA Awards were successfully launched in 2008. Radically different from traditional award ceremonies, the MERA Awards are built on a truly independent platform, allowing the entire channel community to vote for their preferred candidates in the appropriate categories. The gala dinner and live voting session takes place at Le Meridien Al Aqah, Fujairah, UAE, during the upcoming DCC MEA.

Hemraj added: "The feedback for the inaugural MERA Awards 2008 was overwhelmingly positive, but we have also acted on the suggestions of participating vendors and retailers. This has seen the introduction of country-specific awards for important markets such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt and Levant.”

Vendor categories
The MERA 2009 Awards include eight categories for vendors, which will be voted for by retailers. More than 100 pre-qualified ICT and CE retail executives from across the Middle East market attending DCC MEA vote for these awards during the live voting session.

Each executive has been carefully vetted to ensure that only the most senior retail executives participate in the voting process. The quality of the voting community and their regional spread means that these vendor awards are highly coveted prizes that reflect on a vendor’s real standing in the regional retail community.

Prior to the live voting session a Selection Committee made up of the region’s leading retailers decide on the pre-selection of the five nominees for each award category. The eight “Retail Vendor of the Year” awards up for grabs include:

  • Desktop/Notebooks/Netbooks
  • Digital Lifestyle
  • Accessories
  • Peripherals & Printing
  • Mobile Communications
  • LCD/Plasma TVs

In addition, there are special awards for the Overall Vendor of the Year in Middle East Retail and an award for Special Achievement for Outstanding Retail Channel Development. Retailers voting will be asked to judge vendors on a number of factors including channel management strategy, inventory management, margin potential, co-marketing schemes, merchandising activity, product training and customer support.

Retailer categories
The number of awards for retailers has been expanded to 10 for this year’s MERA 2009 Awards. Members of the VIP vendor jury, vendor executives attending DCC MEA 2009 and those involved in selling products through the Middle East ICT & CE retail channel will vote for these awards. Prior to the voting, a Selection Committee made up of the leading vendors and retail distributors decide on the pre-selection of the 5 nominees for each award category.

These awards recognise the Middle East ICT & CE retailers that have excelled during the past year in the following categories:

  • Hypermarket/Big Box Retailer of the Year – separate awards for three market segments – UAE & Gulf; Saudi Arabia, and Egypt & Levant
  • Mall-based / Specialist Retailer of the Year – separate awards for three market segments – UAE & Gulf; Saudi Arabia, and Egypt & Levant
  • Retail Executive of the Year – separate awards for three market segments – UAE & Gulf; Saudi Arabia, and Egypt & Levant

In addition, a special award for Store Concept of the Year will be awarded.
Retailers and retail executives will be assessed on a number of categories including customer satisfaction, sales growth, corporate social responsibility, profitability, store experience, vendor relations, innovation and service levels.

Distributor awards
Rounding off the MERA 2009 Awards will be four categories for retail distributors – the vital link between vendors and retailers. Prior to the live voting session a selection committee made up of the region’s leading retailers decide on the pre-selection of the five nominees for each of the four distributor award categories:

  • Volume Retail Distributor of the Year – Middle East
  • Specialist Retail Distributor of the Year – UAE & Gulf
  • Specialist Retail Distributor of the Year – Saudi Arabia
  • Specialist Retail Distributor of the Year – Egypt & Levant

Retailers will judge distributors based on criteria including channel management strategy, inventory management, margin potential, co-marketing schemes, merchandising activity, logistics and support.

“Across the wider Middle East market, there is still a real vibrancy and energy within the retail channel as more and more consumers switch on and look to purchase digital products. The MERA 2009 Awards are an opportunity for all those involved to look back on what they have achieved, but also to start planning for the rest of 2009 and beyond,” Hemraj concluded.

Details on the awards and on DCC MEA are available on www.dcc-mea.com.

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