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A Year of Disruption

Amazon earns VMSD’s Retailer of the Year award

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As we enter the final quarter of 2017, it’s tempting to look back on what has easily been one of the most remarkable years in retail’s history. We’ve seen record store closings and experienced a seismic shift in the role of physical retail that has clearly just begun.

So it should have been no surprise that when the time came to select the 2017 VMSD/Peter Glen Retailer of the Year, we’d experience more of the same. Each year, our Editorial Advisory Board, comprising representatives from retailers and design and architecture firms, selects the organization that has demonstrated the core retail values of the award’s namesake: innovation, service and intelligence.

In the past, we’ve honored the likes of Warby Parker, Starbucks and Whole Foods, but when this year’s selection became evident, it prompted a good deal of discussion and debate around our offices. How would our readers react to the selection of an organization that has had such a significant impact on retail, sometimes to the detriment of physical stores? What would be the response from our core audience – would they see the potential for innovation in Amazon’s recent foray into physical retail? Or instead, would it be perceived as a capitulation to e-commerce by a publication that has traditionally sung the praises of the in-store experience?

On television and the big screen, these ethical debates and their accompanying arguments likely inspire future journalists. In reality, the process is much less dramatic. After some discussion, the editorial team decided that, in the end, we were obligated to respect the decision of our advisory board and report their selection without influence.

We hope that you will take the choice as it was intended, to recognize an organization that has shown game-changing innovation in its short time in retail – one that has demonstrated a strong commitment to physical retail over the past year and that we stand to learn much from as it navigates new waters.

And again, congratulations to Amazon!

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Read October's featured coverage of Amazon's 2017 VMSD/Peter Glen Retailer of the Year award win here.

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