The best of the best took their bows at Poole’s fifth annual Top of the Shops Awards.

More than 80 entries from across the borough were whittled down, with the help of mystery shoppers, to finalists battling it out for the prestigious awards.

At the gala dinner awards ceremony held at the Quay Thistle Hotel, hosted by Daily Echo editor Neal Butterworth and Wave 105 breakfast presenter Steve Power, hard-working retailers were rewarded.

An audience of more than 100 saw Argos on the High Street and Ashley Road butcher PJ Jones walk away with Best Overall Retailer for multiples and independents.

“The increase of retailers entering the awards and the high standards they demonstrated made it extremely difficult to pick out the winners,” said Mandy Payne, mystery shopper from Dorset Retail Skill Shop.

This year the awards, for which shopkeepers nominate themselves, had more highly commended retailers, demonstrating the top standards achieved.

The dinner, organised by Poole Town Centre Management, saw Lush and Oswald Bailey win Best Customer Service, Robin James take Health and Beauty Store of the Year and John Lewis at Home net Best Newcomer.

Other winners included Lush for the Green Retailer award and The Green for Best Independent Newcomer.

Sponsors John Corderoy from Breeze Volkswagen and Jonathan Sibbett from Sibbett Gregory gave out the awards and economic development at Borough of Poole was the third sponsor.

The awards in full are: Best overall: Multiple Argos, runner-up Animal, highly commended Lush, Beales. Independent winner PJ Jones, runner-up Lumin Essence, highly commended Sassy Brides, Well Groomed Ltd, Meridian Blinds and Awnings, Guitar Mania.

Best window display: multiple winner was Animal, runner-up Beales, highly commended Monsoon. Independent winner was Lumin Essence, runner-up Forum Jewellers, highly commended Irene’s, PH Flowers and Gifts, Best Wishes.

Best customer service: Multiple Lush, runner-up Past Times, highly commended Argos, Animal. Independent winner Oswald Bailey, runner-up Clapham Eyecare, highly commended Guitar Mania, PJ Jones.

Health and beauty store of the year Robin James, runner-up Synergy. Green retailer of the year Lush, runner-up The Green. Best multiple newcomer John Lewis at Home, independent The Green.