MEET the woman who went from helping in her parents shop over the summer to being named the world's best sales associate. 

Zarah Naseem, from Rawtenstall, won the award for Best Sales Associate at an awards ceremony in Tokyo. 

More than 13,000 people were nominated for the award, in the Department Store category, before finalists were chosen from a group of 100.

Mrs Naseem was put forward by her manager, at the Trafford Centre Selfridges store, where she works in luxury menswear.

She was surprised to learn she was a finalist a week before the awards, held at the 6th World Department Store Forum. The biennial awards are held in a different country each time.

The 31-year-old said: “I am overwhelmed to have won. I go to work and do my job.

“It’s really nice and humbling to have won. I still can’t believe it, I keep looking at my trophy because something like this will never happen to me again.”

Mrs Naseem won the award for her excellent customer service, her understanding of brands, sharing product updates, and building unique customer relationships.

In Rawtenstall, Mrs Naseem’s family own a uniform clothing store called Amins where she worked regularly since age 11. 

She said: “Since winning, I have had people contacting me saying they want me to train their sales teams. 

“I loved Tokyo too, even though I had to miss Eid at home, but I was in Tokyo and we had some time to visit temples and go shopping. 

“It’s an amazing place to go, the people in Japan are some of the loveliest people in the world.”

 Mrs Naseem started out as a Christmas temp, before becoming a brand specialist within a year and then a sales consultant.

Originally, she was set to become a teacher, after studying criminology at Manchester University and then doing a PGCE in Psychology.

Those dreams were dashed when she could not find a job but now, she is happy and successful in her sales role.