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NRF announces retail leadership awards
Oct '09
The National Retail Federation is pleased to announce that executives from Polo Ralph Lauren, Zappos and FAST RETAILING are among recipients of its prestigious annual awards. The recipients will accept their awards during the Annual Retail Industry Luncheon at NRF's Annual Convention and EXPO on Tuesday, January 12, 2010. NRF's BIG Show will be held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, January 10-13, 2010.

“Despite the economy, retailers are finding ways to listen to their customers' needs and provide innovative, unique ways to stay ahead of the competition,” said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. “The distinguished award winners this year have inspired the industry through their leadership and forward-thinking. NRF is honored to recognize them.”

Gold Medal Award: Roger Farah, President and Chief Operating Officer, Polo Ralph Lauren, accepting on behalf of the company

The Gold Medal is the most coveted award in retail, given to individuals who have served the industry with distinction and achieved a national reputation for excellence. The recipients have also displayed creative genius and inspirational leadership and have won the respect of fellow merchants for devotion to the retail craft.

Roger Farah has been President and COO of Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation and a member of the company's Board of Directors since 2000. In his role, Farah oversees the development and execution of Polo Ralph Lauren's strategic growth and operating initiatives on a global scale. From 1994 – 2000, Farah was Chairman of the Board and CEO of Venator Group, Inc. Prior to that, he served as President and COO of Macy's, Inc., Chairman and CEO of Federated Merchandising Services and Chairman and CEO of Rich's Department Stores. He also held several executive positions at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Retail Innovator of the Year: Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos.
Recipients of this award have successfully distinguished themselves as retail pioneers through the use of new, innovative or imaginative techniques, formats or service. Furthermore, they have demonstrated an ability to sustain and build this concept in the face of challenges.

Tony Hsieh originally became involved with Zappos as an advisor and investor in 1999 and eventually joined the company full-time as CEO in 2000. Under his leadership, Zappos has grown gross merchandise sales from $1.6 million in 2000 to over $1 billion in 2008 by focusing relentlessly on customer service. Prior to joining Zappos, Tony co-founded Venture Frogs, an investment firm that invested in internet start-ups such as Ask Jeeves, with Zappos CFO Alfred Lin.

International Retailer of the Year: Tadashi Yanai, Chairman and CEO, FAST RETAILING Co Ltd
This award is given annually to an individual who has achieved international recognition for excellence in their native country and internationally.

Tadashi Yanai joined Ogori Shoji Co., Ltd. (now FAST RETAILING), the company his father founded, in 1972. In 1984, under his leadership, the company opened its first UNIQLO casual wear store. Since then, the UNIQLO brand grew aggressively and became the largest casual wear chain. Now UNIQLO is in seven countries, including its New York global flagship store. In November 2005, Yanai turned FAST RETAILING into a holding company, creating a corporate group of apparel manufacturer/retailers which included LINK THEORY HOLDINGS CO., LTD., and NELSON FINANCES S.A.S. Prior to joining FAST RETAILING, he worked at JUSCO Co., Ltd.

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