Essex store beats Harrods

STAFF at an Essex department store have been celebrating after triumphing against none other than Harrods to be voted the best in the country.

STAFF at an Essex department store have been celebrating after triumphing against none other than Harrods to be voted the best in the country.

Williams & Griffin went head-to-head with the world famous Knightsbridge emporium at a prestigious awards ceremony in London.

And the independent retailer from Colchester overcame the odds to came out on top against Mohamed Al Fayed's store.

Fashion retailers and well-known companies from across the UK and Ireland gathered at the gala dinner at London's Grosvenor Hotel this week at the event organised by fashion magazine Drapers.

Williams & Griffin was among the finalists in two award categories - independent menswear retailer of the year and department store of the year - and at the lavish ceremony the company scooped the “big one”.

The Colchester High Street store was also up against other first-class competition for the department store title, including John Lewis of Oxford Street, Pearsons of Enfield and Donnellan and Co from Ireland.

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But after examining the short-list, the judging panel decided it was Colchester's finest which was the worthy winners, pushing John Lewis into second place.

Jonathan Christie, managing director of Williams &Griffin, said: “It is an absolute honour to win this award. It has been a long wait - we submitted our entry months ago and have undergone a rigorous judging process.

“We were delighted to be short-listed with the likes of Harrods and John Lewis but to win, is absolutely amazing.”

Mr Christie thanked customers and staff for their valuable support and said it had been a “fabulous year” for the shop, saying this had been the “icing on the cake.”

The 19 sought-after statuettes on the evening were presented by Never Mind the Buzzcocks host Simon Amstell.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk