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Cream of Australian retailers assemble for 'Americian Express Rewards for Excellence" awards.



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Media Release

CREAM OF AUSTRALIAN RETAILERS ASSEMBLE FOR "AMERICAN EXPRESS REWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE” AWARDS

June 16, 2006

The Hon Gary Hardgrave MP, Australian Minister for Vocational and Technical Education, will join more than 400 guests at the annual National Retail Association’s “American Express Rewards for Excellence" tonight in Sydney.

The key industry event has celebrated the innovation, hard work and successful initiatives in Australia’s thriving retail industry since 1995.

“This is a great opportunity to honour and reward the commitment and hard work of businesses operating in the retail and service industry and to showcase outstanding, innovative and successful activities and initiatives for customers and industry,” Mr Hardgrave said.

“The Rewards recognise organisations that have worked towards developing best practice initiatives in areas critical to business success. The event aims to foster a stronger and more successful retail-service industry in order to meet the needs of an increasingly competitive marketplace.”

Mr Hardgrave will present a trophy to the winner of the Best Training/Human Resource Initiative and the winner of the Merit Award.

“The Australian Government is a proud supporter of this highly regarded event, and provides $20,000 sponsorship for recognition of excellence in training in the retail industry,” Mr Hardgrave said.

“This is part of the Australian Government commitment to supporting vocational and technical education and career options for all Australians, particularly the 70 percent of young Australians who do not go straight from school to university.

“It is a great honour for all of the 82 American Express Awards for

Excellence finalists and I wish them continued future success,” Mr Hardgrave said.

For more information on Australian Government initiatives please go to: http://www.skillsinitiative.gov.au, and http://www.getatrade.gov.au/

Media Contact: Mr Hardgrave’s Office: Nikki Voss 0402 896 100 Dept Education, Science and Training: Clare Gunning 02 6240 7556

ATTACHMENT: FINALISTS BY CATEGORY AND STATE

Company State

Sofitel Best Designed Store 6

BCF Australia QLD

Billy's Outdoor QLD

The Perfume Connection - Cairns QLD

HolySheet! - Fortitude Valley QLD

Guggenheim hair + body - Brisbane City QLD

V Pharmacy - Smithfield QLD

Westfield Best Fashion Retailer 6

Peter Alexander NSW

Pumpkin Patch NSW

Williams The Shoemen VIC

David Lawrence NSW

Calibre Clothing NSW

Country Road NSW

Bose Best House/Homewares Retailer 6

Adairs VIC

DecoRug NSW

HolySheet! QLD

The Kitchen Store WA

Canterbury Lace QLD

Billy's Outdoor QLD

Westfield Best New Retail Business/Store 6

BCF Australia QLD

Campbelltown Framing Gallery NSW

Everywhere Internet NSW

Lenard's Pty Ltd - Rhodes QLD

Ouch Waxing Studio NSW

Top3 by design NSW

Bose Best Recreational Retailer 6

Angus and Robertson VIC

Dick Smith Electronics ACT

Dymocks Booksellers WA

Hobbyco NSW

Books Kinokuniya VIC

BCF Australia QLD

Shopping Centre Council of Australia Best Specialty Retailer 6

Fone Zone QLD

Perfect Potion QLD

Sugar Fix NSW

Fussy Feet NSW

The Perfume Connection QLD

The Prop House QLD

Prime Minister's Community Business Partnership Community Spirit Award 9

Brumby's QLD

Bunnings Warehouse VIC

Cold Rock Ice Creamery QLD

National Pharmacies SA

Northies - Cronulla Hotel NSW

OPSM VIC

Optus World NSW

Starbucks Coffee NSW

The Coffee Club QLD

NRMA Business Insurance Best Services Retailer 6

Complete Photographics QLD

Morffew Photos NSW

Morgans Seafood QLD

VeeV the color salon NSW

Palazzo Versace QLD

Guggenheim hair + body QLD

Bank of Queensland Franchise Award 7

Bakers Delight VIC

Boost Juice VIC

Dymocks Booksellers NSW

Gloria Jean's Coffees NSW

SUBWAY QLD

SumoSalad NSW

Wendy's Supa Sundaes SA

American Express Individual Achievement Award 5

Ann Donohue - Boost Juice NSW

Barry Lane - The Coffee Club QLD

Salvatore Battaglia - Perfect Potion QLD

David McMahon - Fone Zone QLD

Bernie Brookes - Myer National

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Yantra A Sterling Commerce Company Innovation in Retail Award 7

Boost Juice VIC

Jamaica Blue NSW

Sugar Fix NSW

Wendy's Supa Sundaes SA

BCF Australia QLD

EB Games QLD

V Pharmacy QLD

Department of Education, Science and Training - The Training/Human Resource Initiative Award 6

Fone Zone QLD

Guggenheim hair + body QLD

Yum! Restaurants Australia NSW

Lenard's Pty Ltd QLD

Michael Hill Jeweller QLD

EB Games QLD

Westfield Best Food Retailer 6

Jamaica Blue NSW

Morgans Seafood QLD

Muffin Break NSW

Oporto NSW

Deli Fresco NSW

Lenard's Pty Ltd QLD

TOTAL 82