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Which award scheme attracts outstanding entries from Norway, Germany, Slovenia, Singapore, Ireland, Australia, China, South Africa, France, the USA, the UK and New Zealand? Well, as this is a Musgrave blog it’s not likely to be a film festival or a sporting event!

We hope you’ll agree with us, however, that when Musgrave GB entered three of its retailers for the International Convenience Retailer of the Year Award, it showed that we thought we were doing the right thing in convenience retail. And we had to be confident. This is the Oscars or – if you prefer – the World Cup of the convenience world, an award that recognises excellence in convenience and forecourt retailing on an international stage by celebrating the best convenience retail formats from around the world.

The UK contingent is made up of Londis Retford, the Londis-branded Sewell Service Station in Hull, and the Budgens-branded Symonds Forecourt in Wells. There’s some time to go before we find out whether any of these outlets will join Ireland’s Centra Rochestown, the store crowned overall winner in 2012. They have to get through a shortlisting process before being judged by an international panel of top convenience retailing executives and consultants. Even then we won’t know who’s won until the results are announced at the awards dinner on the 25th September.

Fingers crossed, therefore, for our UK partners but whatever the result, we like to think that what also matters is that a strong showing like this is a reminder of our commitment to the UK market.

And it’s a commitment that continued this month with the launch of the latest Budgens store – this time in Colchester, Essex. The existing neighbourhood store got a major extension and a full re-fit and reopened with a big in-store fun day on Saturday the 15th to highlight the new venture for locals. They seem to have taken to the strong fresh food product range, National Lottery, Pay Point, cash machine and 6.30 am to 11 pm daily trading times. We hear that sales have doubled at the new store. In some ways, that’s the sort of recognition we like the most!

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