Last Thursday (19/05/11) saw the annual gift retail award ceremony, Greats Retail Awards 2011, held at the Lancaster, London. The Heathcote & Ivory team were present, and this year we were sponsoring one of the awards.

The Greats Retail Awards 2011 are the only awards to celebrate gift retailing in the UK. Now in their ninth year, they have become the ultimate accolade of the gift retailing industry. The awards bring together the entire gift industry for a night of celebration and partying that's the perfect excuse to kick-off your heels!

All retailers are recognised, from top independent stores, garden centres, supermarkets, and one-off niche retailers. Outstanding retail employees are also recognised for their efforts and achievements in the industry.

This year's awards were hosted by comedian John Moloney, best known for his performances on the BBC's The Stand Up Show, and winner of the Best Live Performer award for two years running at the London Comedy Festival. There was also a 'Greats Britain' theme running throughout the ceremony, meaning bunting was aplenty!

H&I sponsored the Best Garden Centre Retailer of Gifts award, won by Burford Garden Centre, Burford – congratulations to all involved!

The entire H&I team turned out in force, looking very snazzy indeed. Just take a look below:

H&I at Gift Retail Awards

H&I at Gift Retail Awards

H&I at Gift Retail Awards

H&I at Gift Retail Awards

H&I at Gift Retail Awards

H&I at Gift Retail Awards

H&I at Gift Retail Awards

H&I at Gift Retail Awards

As you can see a jolly good time was had by all, as explains H&I's Esther Cazin:

"Everyone had a brilliant time – there were lots of sore heads and tired feet on Friday morning! It was a really good atmosphere and everyone looked amazing. It was a nice opportunity for everyone from the company to get together.

We're very proud to have sponsored the Best Garden Center Retailer of Gifts award - it's the perfect category for us to sponsor as all five finalists were our customers. The Greats Retailer Awards are such a good way of acknowledging those in the gift retail sector. It feels great to be part of such an important and influential British industry."

Here's a list of some of the other winners on the night:

Independent Gift Retailer of the Year - London, South and South East

Daisy Chain

Sponsored by Top Drawer

Best Multiple Retailer of Gifts

Utility, Liverpool (4 locations)

Sponsored by Lesser and Pavey

Best Department Store Retailer of Gifts

Fenwicks, Brent Cross

Sponsored by Xystos

Best Supermarket and or High Street Retailer of Gifts

M&S

Sponsored by The Stationery Show

Gift Retailer of the Year 2011

Utility

Sponsored by Junction 18