Mohammed Alshaya among this year’s World Retail Congress Hall of Fame inductees

August 17, 2015 | By RetailME Bureau

he World Retail Congress has announced the 2015 inductees into the World Retail Hall of Fame, which include retailers from the Middle East, Africa and South America.

Now in its ninth year, the World Retail Hall of Fame has honoured founders of some of the retail world’s most iconic brands, and this year is no different. The World Retail Congress’s Advisory Board, the Grand Jury for the World Retail Awards and other retail industry peers have once again identified individuals they believe are true giants of the industry and should be honoured for their lifetime achievements and contribution to retailing.

The 2015 inductees include Mohammed Alshaya, Kip Tindell, Dr Christo Wiese, Juan Cúneo Solari and Reinaldo Solari.

Mohammed Alshaya, executive chairman, Alshaya group of companies

The Alshaya Group is a long-established Kuwaiti family business formed in 1890, but since Mohammed Alshaya became CEO in 1990, it has been transformed into a powerful retailer boasting some of the world’s biggest brands. Highly respected by retailers around the world, Alshaya has created a strong partnership approach to help drive growth not only through the Middle East but also North Africa, Turkey, Russia and Europe. Alshaya now partners with over 70 brands including Starbucks and H&M, employing more than 44,000 representing over 110 nationalities. Alshaya became executive chairman in 2007. He is also chairman of Mabanee Company SAK, the development company behind Kuwait’s leading mall development, The Avenues and is a member of Supreme Councils for both planning & development and education in Kuwait. He is an active champion of youth skills development.

“Inclusion in the World Retail Hall of Fame is a great honour for me and for our family business. Retail is the most exciting industry in the world, constantly evolving and delivering new opportunities for growth. I have been privileged to be part of that evolution, partnering with some of the world’s greatest retail brands to help develop a modern retailing culture in the Middle East, which has delivered exciting new choices to customers and created many thousands of job opportunities,” comments Alshaya on the award.

Kip Tindell, co-founder, chairman and CEO, The Container Store

When opening the first store in Dallas in 1978, Kip Tindell helped create a new form of retailing, a store solely devoted to storage and organisation of products. The Container Store now has outlets across the US and a strong online presence. The business has a strong values-based ethic with an employee-first culture at its core, and this philosophy has helped make them one of Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” for the last 16 years. Tindell serves on a number of boards including Whole Foods and as chairman of the National Retail Federation.

“I’ve spent a lifelong career in retail and can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s the most exciting and innovative industry out there. So, to be recognised by the World Retail Congress in this light, given the organisation’s high calibre impact on the global retail landscape, is beyond thrilling and humbling. To join the previous inductees and my fellow co-inductees this year in the World Retail Hall of Fame is a monumental honour that, together with everyone at The Container Store, I am extremely proud of,” says Tindell.

Dr Christo Wiese, founder and chairperson of Pepkor Holdings (Pty) Limited and Shoprite Holdings Limited

Christo Wiese is one of the leading figures in African retail having joined a small family-run discount clothing business that today operates some 3,700 stores in Eastern Europe, Australasia and across sub-Saharan Africa. Under his leadership, the Shoprite supermarket chain became Africa’s largest food retailer with sales of around $9bn. Through acquisition, the group has also moved into department stores and other sectors. Earlier this year he acquired the UK’s New Look fashion chain and launched a fast fashion chain called Pep & Co. Today, Wiese’s total portfolio includes approximately 6,000 stores in 24 countries with a staff complement of more than 150,000 people.

“I’m humbled by the honour being bestowed on me and equally impressed by the company in which I find myself in the Retail Hall of Fame! As always in a case like this, the honour is conferred on just one person while it really belongs to the many thousands who have built up the business over many years. I’m accepting it on behalf of them all. In all honesty, there are some who are more deserving of it than me. I also see this honour as recognition, inter alia, of the retailing sector of South Africa which is as sophisticated as one will find in any First World country. It grew out of the needs of an unusually diverse society spread over a vast geographic area. Using some of the best international examples as a point of departure, we created our own unique solutions, which today enable us to trade with great success also across sub-Saharan Africa,” shares Wiese.

Juan Cúneo Solari and Reinaldo Solari, former chairmen, Falabella

Reinaldo Solari with his nephew Juan Cúneo are acknowledged as being the key architects in taking Falabella from being a department store in Chile to today’s Latin American giant with 106,000 employees. The Falabella Group, founded 126 years ago, now operates five distinct businesses, including department stores, home improvement, supermarkets, financial services and real estate across Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil and Peru. The Solaris have led the business through many challenges but their real genius has been in spotting opportunities to move into new sectors such as the launch of customer-friendly credit services or delivering transformational acquisitions such as the Sodimac home improvement chain. Falabella’s first store outside of Chile opened in 1993 when it moved into Argentina, and today it operates 440 stores, 38 shopping centres and 207 bank branches across South America and is one of the main e-commerce players in the region.

The 2015 inductees will be presented with their special awards at the World Retail Hall of Fame lunch, which takes place on the closing day of the World Retail Congress in Rome on September 10. This year’s inductees will take their place alongside a roll call of over 100 names of retailers that have helped create modern retailing around the world.



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