Q&A with Duncan Waller Store manager of the week
Being located in a seaside town must have been miserable this summer? Luckily Eastbourne sees the most sunshine in the UK - so says a sign on the outskirts of town! The hills of the South Downs that surround the town create a micro-climate and we seem to have escaped the worst of the bad weather this summer. But we have seen increases in hot food products you wouldn't traditionally associate with summer. What is your competition like? There are two large Tescos in town, one of which is an Extra, and we also have two Sainsbury's nearby, an Asda, Marks & Spencer and a Morrisons. There is no other Waitrose in the area but customers inform me they have wanted a Waitrose in Eastbourne for a long time. Which products are selling well? Fresh fruit and vegetables are doing well but we are seeing strong month-on-month growth in fish and meat. What is your average customer like? It's really an assortment of types and changes throughout the day. Eastbourne is known for its elderly residents and they visit us in the morning. Families come along during the day and young professionals are more likely to do their shop in the evening. How did the Morrisons staff settle into your store? It was a huge transition process but the partners have adapted wonderfully to the new store. Waitrose invests in its training programme and encourages an honest and open relationship with its partners. Enterprise is celebrated and the new partners have really embraced the culture change. Belonging to a co-owned business is an effective work incentive. I'm proud to say this Waitrose store has one of the lowest staff turnovers in the region and, without sounding too sickly, we are like an extended family here because our staff are passionate about availability. It also helps that the staff and the majority of our customers belong to the same local community.
Asda Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne
1 - Aside from a few packing trolleys being unloaded in various aisles, the store was tidy and well presented. The staff were helpful but our Newcastle shopper was charged full price for the Cadbury Dairy Milk rather than its 'rollback' special offer. However, he was told he could be refunded on his next visit to the store. The pâté was sold out. We visited on 24 August at 12.15pm. Our shop lasted one hour and 20 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was eight minutes.
Morrisons Camden, London
1 - This store's bananas were so green and unripe that our shopper wondered why they were on display. Boxes and crates littered the floor and one aisle was blocked by two abandoned promotional trays. The baguettes were sold out, although our shopper later noticed the fresh delivery unwrapped on another packing trolley. We visited on 24 August at 8.00am. Our shop lasted 35 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was four minutes.
Sainsbury's Salford, Greater Manchester
0 - The fresh produce and chilled aisles were congested with packing trolleys, which hindered our shopper's progress. As the receipt was issued, the checkout operator put his hands on his head and yawned loudly. Our shopper asked if he was tired. "I am when I'm at work," was his curt reply. The Wall's sausages were not stocked. We visited on 24 August at 12.25pm. Our shop lasted 55 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was five minutes and 20 seconds.
Somerfield Bookham, Surrey
0 - This small branch was busy but only three of the five checkouts were open, which created queues. Phones were ringing with no-one answering them and our shopper was surprised to see a member of staff sitting on the floor behind the cigarette kiosk doing paperwork instead of opening another till. Three items were not stocked. We visited on 24 August at 2.10pm. Our shop lasted 40 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was eight minutes.
Tesco Bridgend, Glamorgan
1 - This store was extremely busy with people stocking up for the bank holiday weekend, but staff were coping well and helped our shopper find missing items. The loose potatoes were sold out and staff said the plain Bounty kitchen towels, can of chopped tomatoes with herbs and long French baguette were not available. We visited on 24 August at 4.55pm. Our shop lasted one hour and 15 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was 11 minutes.
Waitrose Eastbourne, East Sussex
0 - This high street store was the only retailer to provide all 33 items this week and the stock was well-maintained and presented. The staff were friendly and the checkout operator helped our shopper pack her bags. Six of the 10 tills were open. We visited on 24 August at 2.15pm. Our shop lasted 59 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was five minutes.