A MUSSELBURGH shop has been recognised as one of the top independent stores in the UK following an in-store assessment by the Independent Achievers Academy (IAA).

Ferhan Ashiq, who owns the Levenhall Village Store, is named on the IAA Top 100 list which celebrates the continuing success of the country’s independent shops.

The assessment is based on outlets achieving excellence in serving their local shoppers across 12 core principles of retailing.

Mr Ashiq said: “I’m really proud to have Levenhall Village Store make the IAA Top 100 for the first time. Me and my team have worked hard to achieve this and it’s great to be recognised for providing a service to our community. I can’t wait to share the news with our customers.”

The IAA Top 100 is compiled after a rigorous benchmarking process and an independent in-store assessment, carried out by assessment partner REL Field Marketing. All retailers who participated in benchmarking their business receive a personalised benchmark report that recognises their strengths and identifies opportunities for development.

Nick Shanagher, manager director of retail marketing specialist Newtrade, said: “Top retailers use their symbol and franchise deals to provide a compelling consumer offer on cost, choice and convenience. But on top they are giving shoppers the control they need, with 95 per cent offering e-pay facilities like contactless.”

He added: “The Top 100 list recognises the hard work of the family business owners and their staff which consumers repeatedly say they want to find in local stores. With our partners, the IAA benchmarking helps with the simple, small, smart things that make a difference so they can compete with the chain stores and Amazon.”

A shortlist of shops will be announced on Monday, September 11, which will be judged by a panel comprising the editors of RN and Retail Express and 12 leading industry experts.

A dozen category stars and an overall best shop will be revealed at the IAA Gala Dinner, which takes place on Wednesday, November 29, in London.