Budgens of Islington has won the top prize at the 2018 Convenience Retail Awards, the prestigious national awards run by Convenience Store and The Grocer.

The 5,000sq ft London-based store was named the UK’s best convenience store at a glittering awards ceremony in London on Thursday evening (15 March), having earlier won the Best Large Store and Community Retailer of the Year categories.

Owner Paul Gardner impressed the judges with his focus on innovation and embracing the latest market trends. A recent store revamp saw him introduce a plethora of eye-catching concessions, cutting-edge technology and exciting new product ranges, resulting in a 10% sales uplift.

Paul said: “It feels absolutely fantastic winning this award. It’s great for the team, they work really hard. We’ve evolved the store to where it needs to be now, we’re not just competing against high street retailers but also online retailers and the likes of Deliveroo, which is big in the area. We’ve already taken the store forward since last year’s refit. We’ve brought two more Cook freezers in to the front of store, taking the total to 10, and we’ve brought in a new hot food counter. 

“I wasn’t expecting this at all. There are some fantastic retailers here, they know their customer and what works in their store, and they really do it well. We learnt from them.” 

C-Store editor David Rees said: “All our winning stores have matched high standards with great innovation, and provide an exciting path for the industry to follow in the future.

“Budgens of Islington in particular has been beautifully remodelled with the needs of the modern convenience shopper very much in mind.”

Other major winners on the night included Best-one Wanstead, which was named Best Small Store; Ancoats General Store, Manchester, which won Best Independent Store; and Spar Roe Lane, Southport, which won Best Multiple or Franchise Store.

Among the special awards given out on the night, McCullagh’s Classic Service Station (Spar), Omagh, won two categories: Best Communication to Shoppers and Food to Go Retailer of the Year (large store).

South West-based Londis retailer Steve Bassett was named Retailer’s Retailer of the Year.

Convenience Retail Awards 2018 was sponsored by Aunt Bessie’s, Aqua Carpatica, Bestway & Best-one, Camelot, Carlsberg, Cibus, Muller, Peas Please, Pernod Ricard, Pladis, Republic Technologies, Snowshock, Utilita, ACS, HIM and the National Convenience Show.

The winners – Store Awards

Convenience Retailer of the Year

Budgens of Islington

Best Independent Store

Ancoats General Store, Manchester

Best Small Store

Best-one Wanstead

Best Multiple or Franchise Store

Spar Roe Lane, Southport

Best Large Store

Budgens of Islington

The winners – Special Awards

Best New Store

Spar Walken, Greater Manchester

Best Food to Go (large store)

McCullagh’s Classic Service Station (Spar), Omagh

Best Food to Go (small store)

Hooton’s Newsagent (Best-one), Golbourne

Best Customer Service – sponsored by Bestway

Mullan’s Spar, Armagh

Best Chilled Food Retailer – sponsored by Muller

Spar Roe Lane, Southport

Community Retailer of the Year – sponsored by Camelot

Budgens of Islington

Innovation Award – sponsored by Republic Technologies

Simply Fresh Surrey University, Guildford

Best Fresh Produce Retailer – sponsored by Peas Please

McBride Retail Group (Spar) Mullaghmore, Omagh

Best Mealtime Missions – sponsored by Aunt Bessie’s

Mullan’s Spar, Armagh

Off Licence Store of the Year – sponsored by Pernod Ricard

Warner’s Budgens, Moreton-in-Marsh

Energy Efficiency Award – sponsored by Utilita Energy

Jet Abbeyside Service Station (Spar) Selby

Responsible Retailing Award 

Eldred Drive Stores (Premier)

Best Communication to Shoppers – sponsored by HIM

McCullagh’s Classic Service Station (Spar), Omagh

Best Use of Technology 

Welcome Co-operative Liberty Quays, Southampton

Retailer’s Retailer of the Year – sponsored by Pladis

Steve Bassett (Londis Westham Road)

Product of the Year - sponsored by Best-one

Gordon’s Pink Gin