Q&A with Joe Lock Store manager of the week
What problems have you had with the store? We've encountered various operational issues, but the biggest problems were service and availability. Routines to maintain stocks were not being followed and it was showing on the shelves. We've also had a lot of store managers coming here on a temporary basis and then moving, which hasn't been good for staff. Now we're trying to give our employees more stability and have put in place a new management team. The store manager is a vital figurehead who holds massive influence over all aspects of the store. What changes are being made? We are extending our own-label Extra Special range and devoting more space to areas that are overtrading such as fresh produce, the meat and fish counters and flowers. Availability has improved since I arrived and like-for-like sales are up already. What are you doing to appeal to the wealthy locals? I plan to introduce a garden centre marquee in the car park for the spring to stock plants as well as picnic and barbecue ranges. Checkouts would also be installed to make it more convenient for shoppers. I did this a few years ago when I was at Safeway and I think it would suit this area perfectly. Do you have a home delivery service? Yes, and it is a vital part of the store's development. Because of our size, we are capable of delivering within a 20-mile radius of the store, giving us access to hundreds of new shoppers.Supermarkets are coming under fire for selling cheap alcohol. What do you think of this? I don't see the picture that the press are painting at our store. On the news recently, kids were shown drinking a brand popular with underage drinkers, and alcopops with price labels on the bottles. This means they visited an independent, not a supermarket. If a major retailer is fined for selling booze to kids, it gets a lot of press coverage. If it's just a corner shop, the papers don't care.
Asda Burgh Heath, Surrey
0 - Although this busy store did not stock the required sizes of plum tomatoes or fresh double cream, other sizes were available and the shelves were well-stocked. Customer service was excellent and the checkout assistant was friendly and worked quickly. Of the 28 checkouts, 19 were open, which was sufficient. We visited on 7 March at 2.10pm. Our shop lasted 40 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was five minutes.
morrisons Cheadle Heath, Stockport
0 - The staff at this Morrisons were not very helpful. When our shopper asked where he could find penne pasta, one assistant mumbled "I don't know" and another directed him to the wrong aisle. A mop and bucket had been left in the chilled aisle and the Hula Hoops and plum tomatoes were not stocked. We visited on 11 March at 2.00pm. Our shop lasted one hour and five minutes. Time spent at the checkout was four minutes.
sainsbury's Tamworth, Staffordshire
1 - When our Sainsbury's shopper asked a floor assistant if the quiches were out of stock, he quickly checked the availability using a hand-held scanner. He then recommended alternatives and helped her find other items. The store was clean and tidy, but only 13 of the 25 tills were open and queues were long. We visited on 7 March at 3.10pm. Our shop lasted 50 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was nine minutes.
2 - The floor was dirty at this branch on Gloucester Road and there were lots of gaps on shelves. The garlic and quiche were sold out and seven other items were not stocked. The checkout operator did not speak to our shopper and there were grubby stickers peeling off the till. The Mother's Day signs had not been taken down. We visited on 7 March at 9.10am. Our shop lasted one hour. Time spent at the checkout was nine minutes.
tesco Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
2 - The aisles were clean and clear at this Tesco branch and our shopper was impressed by the attractive bread display in the bakery area. The staff were fairly knowledgable about where items could be found and the signage was clear. The Hula Hoops and double cream were sold out. We visited on 7 March at 11.35am. Our shop lasted 45 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was five minutes.
0 - The till operator at this Waitrose made a point of asking our shopper whether she required a bag for life as part of an in-store promotion on reusable bags. The required sizes of ice cream and cherry tomatoes were not stocked and packing trolleys blocked some aisles. We visited on 7 March at 5.29pm. Our shop lasted 34 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was seven minutes.