One of the most anticipated moments of the National Retail Awards is the announcement of the Young Retailer of the Year, which acknowledges the excellence in leadership and ambition of a rising star in the industry.

The 2022 winner Stephen Poole says taking home the award provided him with amazing opportunities and set the path for a stellar career.

Mr Poole, 22, was the retail operations manager at LEGO Robina on the Gold Coast when he won the Young Retailer of the Year award and is now based in Sydney as head of retail licensed brands at Alquemie Group that includes LEGO and National Geographic.

“My senior manager had won the same award himself a few years before so thought he’d throw my hat into the ring,’’ Stephen said.

“I really appreciated that my manager identified the opportunity and decided to nominate me.’’

Now based in Sydney, Stephen is the head of retail licensed brands at all of Alquemie Group’s Australian stores that includes its Lego and National Geographic brands.

“For me, the benefits began before I was named Young Retailer of the Year. As a finalist, I attended the Future Leaders Lunch and, to be honest, I was just happy to be there as part of an incredible networking opportunity,’’ Stephen said.

“The award has allowed me opportunities to be coached by senior leaders. I am able to observe and learn from their experiences and it has provided me with a wider view of the industry that I would not have otherwise been able to access.’’

As part of his Young Retailer of the Year Award, Stephen received a scholarship with the Retail Doctor Group.

“The 12-month program is providing me with one-on-one professional development and exposing me to different projects and network events in the industry.’’

Stephen also won a trip to Barcelona to attend the World Retail Congress in April this year where the theme was ‘Retail Leadership for Extraordinary Times’. “I learned so much from the world’s top managers particularly how they are changing their practices after Covid,’’ Stephens said.

To enter the Young Retailer of the Year you must be under the age of 25, be employed in the retail or fast-food industry and be endorsed by a supervisor or company representative.

This year’s awards are free to enter – you don’t need to be a member of the National Retail Association – and you can enter as many categories as applicable.

Nominations close 31 August 2023 and all finalists will receive a ticket to attend the gala awards night in Brisbane on Thursday, 26 October.

If you have any questions regarding your eligibility or completion of your online nomination, please contact,au

Nominations are FREE OF CHARGE for both members and non-members of the National Retail Association.

The National Retail Awards were developed by the National Retail Association more than 50 years ago to recognise the pinnacle achievements of businesses and individuals who lead and grow Australia’s retail industry. Originally known as the Rewards for Excellence, the National Retail Awards were rebranded in 2017 and are enjoying renewed popularity attracting high-calibre entries. The awards’ extensive categories reflect the most important and innovative facets of the industry.