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Skillsmart VM finalists announced

Skillsmart Retail has revealed the finalists of its live visual merchandising competition, skillVM, following five weeks of live heats at shopping centres around the UK.

The finalists include candidates from two independent retailers, Marmalade of Axminster and Avoca of Belfast and three student teams.

All of the competitors had to create a window display on a budget of £200 and a panel of judges selected the best displays.

Finalists are Rachel Love Cameron and Sara Walsh of Avoca in Belfast, which sells gifts and womenswear, and Lisa Fifer and Lucy Whittaker from womenswear independent Marmalade in Axminster, Devon. Both teams will compete in the retail category on June 30.

The student category finalists who will compete on July 1 will be Debbie Hynd and Debbie Dargie from Elmwood College, Fife, Scotland, Carolyn Green and Nicola Birchall from the University of Central Lancashire, Hugh Baird College Liverpool Campus and Piriyanka Logendran and Rachael O’Connell from North West Kent College.

The finals take place at the In-Store Show trade exhibition from June 30 to July 1 at Olympia in London.

Anne Seaman, chief executive of Skillsmart Retail said: “The sheer amount of talent we have seen in all four nations has been truly remarkable. I wish all of the competitors the very best in London and I am sure they will do the industry proud.”

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