Sunderland shops toast their success at Retail Awards + VIDEO

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IT was a night to celebrate for Sunderland shops as they raised a glass to their success at this year’s Retail Awards.

Delighted staff could not stop smiling after all their hard work was recognised in spectacular fashion at the ceremony.

RETAIL AWARD 2012: Group shot of all the winners.

RETAIL AWARD 2012: Group shot of all the winners.

For Ian Watson and his team from Cycle World, in High Street West, it was an evening to remember as they scooped the ultimate accolade, Independent Retailer of the Year.

The shop has been in the city centre since 1975 and Ian said: “We weren’t expecting to win, we’re gobsmacked.

“At the end of the day, we are passionate about cycling and we want to get as many people on bikes as possible.

“We want them to love it as much as we do. It’s great for the environment.

“We just want to provide a good service. Receiving this award makes us realise that our customers do appreciate what we do.”

Last night’s event was held in The Bridges and hosted by Gary Philipson and Lisa Shaw, from Real Radio.

Other winners were New Look, Cafe Roco, The Bridges, 24 Carat Hair and Beauty, Collinson Jewellers, Disney Store, Liberty Browns, Station Taxis, Bonmarche, Sarah McCluskey from Relish The Thought, and Stephanie Burnside from Debenhams.

Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson congratulated retailers.

He said: “The city council is really pleased and proud to be the main sponsor of the 2012 Retail Awards.

“It celebrates the outstanding achievements of individuals and companies in Sunderland.

“It’s so important to recognise this sector and celebrate everything about Sunderland, the city centre and the people.”

The awards were launched two years ago as part of the council’s Shop Sunderland First campaign.

Winners were nominated by the public, but the final decision was made by our panel of independent judges.

They made their decision based on the shoppers’ comments and a mystery shopper point score system.

Twitter: @sunderlandecho