We are looking for the cream of this year's crop to step forward and enter the 2006 competition, which will see the overall winner receive a total of £1,500 plus two
tickets to next year's Candy Ball, organised by the Confectioners' Benevolent Fund.
To enter, you need to obtain the special entry pack, which you can request by phone, or by filling in the form below and returning it to us.
The official entry form features 10 questions to help us find out a bit about each candidate, and there is space for an endorsement by a customer who visits your store.
The best entries will then be visited in their working environment by one of our on-the-road judges to yield four finalists, each one the winner in their own category, who will be invited to the finals lunch at London's prestigious Bluebird restaurant.
It is there that the overall winner for 2006 will be crowned.
The closing date for receiving your completed entry forms is September 1, 2006, so don't delay, get busy today!
Words from our sponsors
The Sales Assistant of the Year Award would not be possible without the generous support of its sponsors, and we are delighted that three of the sector's biggest suppliers - Masterfoods, Gallaher and Procter & Gamble - are getting behind the event this year. Here's why it is important to them:
Paul Lettice, trade marketing manager at Procter & Gamble:
"We at Procter & Gamble are delighted to be sponsoring the Sales Assistant of the Year Awards once again.
"Sales assistants are a vital component in helping retailers manage a successful and profitable c-store. No one day is ever the same in a c-store. Teamwork is essential and sales assistants have to demonstrate a wide range of skill sets, including customer service, merchandising, point of sale and in-store training, in addition to managing delivery and security issues.
"We wish the best of luck to all entrants and look forward to celebrating and rewarding those category winners who are successful at this year's awards."
Andrea Taylor, trade relations manager at Masterfoods:
"Masterfoods is delighted to support the Convenience Store Sales Assistant of the Year Awards for the 24th year running.
"We believe that a friendly and efficient sales assistant has never been more important in the convenience market.
A professional manner and understanding of shoppers' needs can turn an occasional emergency shopper into a regular one.
"Masterfoods believes that sales assistants deserve recognition for demonstrating outstanding customer service skills while also dealing with the pressures of a demanding trading environment.
"A professional approach, exceptional product knowledge and a desire to develop existing skills to maximise opportunities and sales are abilities that Masterfoods is proud to commend. The standard of entries for this now well-established accolade continues to grow each year and we are delighted to be sponsoring an award acknowledging sales assistants who set such a shining example."
Gallaher is once again delighted to be
sponsoring Convenience Store's Sales Assistant of the Year Awards. This award recognises the essential role of sales
assistants and highlights best practice in this vital area.
Jeremy Blackburn, trade
communications manager at Gallaher:
"Gallaher is committed to providing support, information and education to the trade, and these awards do just that. They draw attention to the important role of sales assistants and are an opportunity for others to learn from those who are the best in their field.
"The importance of tobacco to the convenience channel cannot be overstated, typically accounting for 23% of outlets' sales value (IGD). Sales assistants play a crucial role in maximising the benefits that tobacco brings, which also include driving footfall and customer loyalty.
"Availability of tobacco products is a key issue and it is one of the many important roles of sales assistants to ensure that
on-shelf stocks are maintained and that the best-selling lines are properly merchandised. Sometimes overlooked, sales assistants should be recognised for their efforts and as a result we are delighted to show our support."