The National Retail Federation honored the most innovative retailers of the year yesterday at the Annual Retail Industry Luncheon Awards.
Among the winners were Amazon founder and chief executive officer, Jeffrey Bezos, Crocs and Ken Bonning, senior executive vice president, Kohl’s.
Gold Medal Winner: Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com
The founder and chief executive officer of the online retailer was awarded the NRF’s top individual honor for his “willingness to re-imagine decades-old methods of retail operations, merchandising, logistics and marketing” and continuing to reshape the retail industry.
“The three big ideas at Amazon are long-term thinking, customer obsession and a willingness to invent,” says Bezos in an interview with Stores. “We have an explorer mentality–we like to pioneer, to go down blind alleys, and sometime those alleys open into broad avenues.”
International Retailer of the Year: Lululemon Athletica
The Vancouver-based yoga-inspired chain won this year’s award for its significant growth (revenue topped $1 billion last year), and dedication to the costumer experience. The company currently has 201 stores in North America and Australia, with showrooms now open in London and Hong Kong.
Innovator of the Year: Crocs
After dramatic losses following the 2008 recession, the footwear company has restyled itself and bounced back, under the guidance of chief executive officer John McCarvel. The company’s continued innovation has earned it the title of NRF Innovator of the Year.
Silver Plaque Award: Ken Bonning, Kohl’s
After working for Kohl’s for more than a decade, Bonning took on the role of senior executive vice president in 2011, responsible for logistics and informational systems. Under Bonning’s guidance, the department store chain has developed a sustainability program that earned it the 2012 Sustained Excellence in Green Power award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For these innovations, as well as his contribution to the NRF and its committees, Bonnig was named the NRF’s 2013 Silver Plaque winner.
J. Thomas Weyant Lifetime Achievement Award: John C. Mahaney Jr.
As head of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, Mahaney has helped ensure that the retail industry is recognized by state lawmakers for its many contributions to Ohio, which is the home of Macy’s, The Limited, Kroger and Abercrombie & Fitch. As the head of the council Mahaney has dealt with the industry’s biggest challenges, from taxes to product labeling. As a result of his efforts, Ohio now requires online retailers to collect sales tax the same a local stores, leveling the playing field for local businesses.