Munster stores picked up a hat-full of honours at the recent FBD Crest National Retail Excellence Awards.
The awards, which attracted a record 342 entries, were presented at a gala dinner attended by retailers from all over Ireland.
David Fitzsimons, chief executive of Crest, the State-sponsored agency with the remit to improve standards in the retail sector, said each of the nominated stores were of exceptional standards and judges really did have a difficult task in selecting the winners.
“While competition increases in the market, the standards of the independent retail sector continues to rise,” Mr Fitzsimons said.
Among those honoured was Quinlan Craft and Design, Macroom, who came in at fourth place in the Best Large Store in the southern region.
Overall winner was Ardkeen Quality Foodstore in Waterford.
Ó Crualaoi, The Butchers in Ballincollig, came a creditable third in the Best Small Store southern region category, just ahead of O’Brien’s Irish Sandwich Bar in Mallow.
Overall winner was Hilser’s Jewellers in Tralee.
Limerick and Clare shops dominated all top four places in the Best Large Store western region category, with Midwest Fireplace, Stove and Gas Centre, Ennis, the winner.
Limerick outlets took the remaining three places, with Garvey’s SuperValu, Corbally in second, followed by 4 Home, Raheen and Ivans of Caherdavin in third.
Adrian Taheny, executive director of marketing and sales at insurance group FBD, said retailers are focusing more on the quality of the product and service they provide.
“Irish retailers continue to perform successfully in the face of increasing numbers of entrants to the market, intense competition, changing legislation and rapidly changing consumer demands.”
As part of the judging process, stores nationwide were visited by mystery shoppers and judged by an independent panel. Over 24 stores were nominated and the winners include an extensive range of services.