Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal to accept NRF's Gold Medal Award next week

The National Retail Federation has announced that Jim Sinegal, Costco co-founder and board member, will receive the Gold Medal Award in 2014 during Retail's BIG Show. Additionally, NRF has named South Korea's Lotte Shopping as the International Retailer of the Year. Mr. Shin Heon, president and CEO of the company, will accept the award.

Nike, Inc. has been named Retail Innovator of the Year, and Half Price Books' Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Kathy Doyle Thomas has been selected as 2014's Silver Plaque recipient.

The award members are selected each year by the Awards Committee, comprised of select members of the NRF Board. The recipients, two distinguished industry leaders and two renowned retail companies, will accept their awards during the Annual Retail Industry Luncheon at NRF's Annual Convention and EXPO on Monday, January 13, 2014. The BIG Show will be held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, January 12-15, 2014.

"Jim was an obvious choice for NRF's Gold Award, given his commitment to the industry and Costco, and dedication to creating such a well-respected culture throughout the organization he helped build," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "All of the award winners have successfully been able to cut through the clutter and make an outstanding name for themselves by continuing to innovate and effectively serve their customers in an ever-changing world."

Gold Medal Award: Jim Sinegal, co-founder and board member, Costco

The Gold Medal is one of the most coveted awards in retail, given to an individual who has served the industry with distinction and achieved a national reputation for excellence. The recipient has also displayed creative genius and inspirational leadership and has won the respect of fellow merchants for devotion to the retail craft.


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This year's recipient of the Gold Medal Award is Jim Sinegal, co-founder and board member of Costco. As co-founder, Sinegal served as president and chief executive officer of Costco from its inception in 1983 until 2012 and remains on Costco's Board of Directors. During his tenure as president and chief executive officer, Costco became the top warehouse-club retailer in the nation, with more than 645 stores operating in 42 states, Puerto Rico and nine countries, with annual sales of $103 billion.

Prior to joining Costco, Sinegal served as executive vice president for the Price Company. He started his career in retail with Fed-Mart Corporation as a store bagger, eventually climbing the ranks to serve as executive vice president, overseeing merchandising and operations.

Retail Innovator of the Year: Nike, Inc.

This award is given annually to a company that is well-known as a retail pioneer in the retail industry through the use of new, innovative or imaginative techniques, formats or service. The company has also demonstrated an ability to persevere in the face of challenges.

Nike Inc. is the world's leading innovator in athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories. In February 2013, Fast Company Magazine named Nike, Inc. the No. 1 Most Innovative Company in its annual ranking of the world's top 50 innovators. The special issue highlights companies whose innovations have the greatest impacts across their respective industries and on our culture as a whole. The cover story lauds the Nike+ FuelBand and Nike Flyknit technology.

International Retailer of the Year: (South Korea) Lotte Department Store

This award is given annually to a company that has achieved international recognition for excellence in their native country and internationally.

Lotte Shopping is a Korean retail company established in 1979, and headquartered in Sogong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea. Lotte Shopping offers retail consumer goods and services and Lotte Department Store is a central corporation of Lotte Shopping. 

Accepting the award on behalf of Lotte Shopping is President of Lotte Shopping Co., LTD Mr. Shin Heon. Heon has served as CEO of Lotte Shopping Co. since 2012, and oversees 31 department stores, 10 outlets and six department stores internationally. Prior to his appointment as CEO and president of Lotte Shopping, Heon served as CEO and president of Lotte Homeshopping Co. from 2008 to 2012, and executive vice president from 2007 to 2008. Under his leadership, Lotte Department Store was voted "Leading Company" in the department store category in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, and received the grand prize of the Korea Service Grand Prix in the department store sector.

Silver Plaque: Kathy Doyle Thomas, executive vice president and chief strategy office, Half Price Books

The Silver Plaque Award is presented to a senior executive with an NRF member company or retail-related organization who has achieved prominence in his or her individual field and who has shown outstanding leadership in his or her NRF council or committee work, making a major contribution to the retail industry and/or to NRF.

Kathy Doyle Thomas, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, at Half Price Books joined the company in July 1989. Her responsibilities include developing national marketing efforts for the wholesale and retail divisions of the company, as well as overseeing all real estate purchases, store expansion criteria and site selection. She also heads the company's three website divisions. She is president of Half Price Books Community Services, a 501(c)(3) organization that supports various community programs, and currently serves on the Global Retail Marketing Association board, as well as NRF's Integrated Mobile Initiative Task Force. She is also a former board chair of the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association.

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