Customer Service Wins the Day!

Domestic & General — 23 Jun 2009

Customer service wins the day at the Retailer of the Year Awards

Customer-focused retailers, accumulating almost 400 years electrical trading experience between them, have won this year’s Retailer Of The Year awards. Proving that experience counts at the coal-face of retailing, long-established and family firms took the majority of the honours with the overall winner, Oldrids Downtown Superstore in Grantham, celebrating 204 years in business.

Domestic & General, administrator and sponsor of this prestigious barometer of electrical retailing excellence, mailed out over 250,000 questionnaires to retail customers following a sale. The questionnaires asked customers to grade the store for warmth of welcome, staff's product knowledge and quality of demonstration where applicable.

Overall winner of ROTY, The Downtown Superstore, is part of the Oldrids group, an independent department store originally established in 1804 . Since then Oldrid’s has expanded with the Downtown Superstore in Boston, Lincolnshire and two further stores in Grantham. The company has been built on its trusted brand name, outstanding customer service and no-quibble returns policy, and is justly proud to have retained its family feel while growing to four outlets employing over 725 staff.

Top honours for retailer Internet Retailer Of The Year is shared between CI(H) member Crampton & Moore of Sheffield and Bolton-based independent Sound & Vision. Crampton & Moore successfully combines a traditional shop with an internet operation and reports many customers looking at the website first and then coming into the shop to make their purchase. The expansion of the company has been rapid with turnover quadrupling over the past five years. By contrast, Sound and Vision is the youngest retailer of the ROTY winning group, having been set up in 1992 by Neil Ball and Simon Clarke. It started with one shop on Market Street in Farnworth, Bolton and has built into a large Internet operation turning over £54m in 2007.

Runners up in the main ROTY competition, Ayrshire’s J H Donald and Tower Radio of Essex, were fractions of a point from Oldrids and beat off stiff competition from the hundreds of other retailers voted for by their customers.

J H Donald was first started by Jim Donald in a garden hut in 1952 and is now run by his son Reg Donald. Focusing on the customer and beating local multiple retailers on both price and service, the company now boats 18 vehicles serving the population of Ayrshire. Tower Radio Ltd of Essex has a similar philosophy regularly upsetting multiple and supermarket competitors with a robust advertising and pricing strategy. Tower was set up in Canvey Island in 1933 and hit the headlines in 1965 when John Litman brought a colour television back with him from the United States of America - thought to be the first to be seen in England. His son Bernard Litman is now Chairman of the company, which has 7 branches in Essex and Hertfordshire. Tower is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

Now in its ninth year, the Retailer Of The Year (ROTY) Awards are unique in the electrical retailing industry. They look at which retailers offer the best shopping experience as rated by customers in their stores. The results of the ROTY survey give a fascinating, independent insight into what customers really think about the retailers and their staff.

Notes for Editors

Domestic & General is the UK’s largest specialist provider of breakdown protection for domestic appliances, electronic equipment and gas central heating systems. The company provides breakdown plans for over 100 appliance brands, over 2,000 independent high street retailers, banks and catalogue companies, and also operates a direct to customer Quoteline service.

For more information, images or review samples please contact:

Richard Stevenson


Rogers Wood, Whitebread Lane, Rye, East Sussex, TN31 6UA


Phone: 01797 260 882

Mobile: 07974 926 157

Fax: 01797 260 853

Recent news from Domestic & General:

» Retailer of the Year announced

» Customer Service Wins the Day!