Canadian retailer Loblaw is celebrating after being named International Retailer of the Year.

The award went to the grocery retailer for its contribution to the world of food retailing.

The judges said the chain, which first opened its doors in Toronto in 1919, was forward thinking and innovative.

They also felt it deserved recognition for being one of the early pioneers of quality own-label, which it embarked on in 1978 with the launch of its No Name sub-brand.

It developed its range further six years later with the launch of its President's Choice premium line.

Its 'good-better-best' ­business model for own label has been used by many retailers across the world, including grocery chains in the UK, as a template for their own private label programmes.

Loblaw now has more than 1,000 stores across all regions of Canada and it holds a 26% market share in the country.

It also featured in The Grocer's top ten world's greatest food retailers - published on 25 November.

It was praised by our judging panel for its focus on freshness, quality and choice.

Presenting the award on Wednesday, Food from Britain chief executive David McNair said: "Loblaw will no doubt be spoilt for choice by the best of our exporters knocking on its door in the months to come."