A GENTS’ clothing store emerged as the big winner at a city’s annual retail awards last night.

Woven, based in the Gates shopping centre, won the independent retailer of the year and overall retailer of the year awards at the Durham City Retail Awards, held at the Ramside Hall Hotel, near Durham.

Hollie Wheeler, from Woven, also won the retail person of the year title, after impressing shoppers with her customer service skills and knowledge.

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The awards celebrate Durham’s best shops, restaurants, cafes and bars.

Twelve prizes were handed out, after more than 2,000 shoppers nominated their favourite city centre retailers for honours.

Paperchase, in the Prince Bishops shopping centre, won large retailer of the year. Costa Coffee, also in the Prince Bishops, won the coffee shop title for the second year running.

Zen was named restaurant of the year; Fat Face won window of the year; Toni & Guy won the retail experience prize; Durham Markets’ student campaign won the marketing initiative award; M ‘n’ M Sandwich and Pizza Bar was named Indoor Market trader of the year; Triple S won the small retailer prize; and Head of Steam was named the best bar.

Richard Toynbee, Prince Bishops shopping centre manager, said: “We’re now in our seventh year of the awards and the standard of entries always remains high, so it’s a major achievement for retailers to be nominated and it’s great to learn how passionate the people of Durham are about good customer service.

“I’d like to thank everyone who came along on the evening to show their support and offer my congratulations to all of the award winners.”