The aisles were clear of packing trolleys, the store was tidy and the staff helped our shopper locate several items. The checkout assistant greeted our shopper, made polite conversation and offered to pack.
Shoppers at Sainsbury's in High Wycombe are having to make do with a temporary store while a new store, set to open this summer, is built. The store therefore had a limited stock range and our shopper noted there were a few trolleys left in the aisles, although they did not get in her way. The checkout assistant was not very chatty but greeted our shopper and said goodbye.
Staff were helpful at Waitrose in Twickenham but there was a long wait at the checkout and, although the assistant was polite, she did not offer to pack.
Our shopper at Tesco Extra in Colchester was left feeling angry after an assistant said he couldn’t help her locate the cider, even though he was pushing a drinks trolley. She also reported that trolleys were clogging the aisles.
One out-of-stock item let Morrisons in Portsmouth down, although the store was tidy and plenty of tills were open. The duty manager was chatting to customers on the shop floor and a friendly checkout assistant packed our shopper’s bags.
Winner: Feroz Patel, store manager, Asda, Hulme
Your store delivered great service. Have you implemented any particular service strategies? We focus on training colleagues to make sure customer service is at the forefront of everything they do. We give them the information they need to do their job and stay consistent, with availability and service as the focus. My everyday management challenges are to keep the shop full and to serve every customer as I would want to be treated myself. I want to get every colleague to adopt that mindset.
What do you do to reward success? As time is so precious outside of work, at the end of each month we celebrate colleagues' and managers' successes with a lunch. We like to keep it different and welcoming to our staff so often have themes, such as Indian, Chinese and Italian.
What impact has the sunny weather had on sales? We have seen 100% to 150% year-on-year growth on sales of warm-weather lines, including T-shirts, vests, barbecues, patio furniture and meat.
Tell me about last year's store refit. In November we completed a mezzanine renewal and had 15,000 sq ft of non-food space put in. We now have a pharmacy and a huge range of non-food, which is doing really well. Our clothing offer has tripled in size and we sell more toys and homeware. We also now have a paper shop that sells books, magazines, newspapers and stationery. I feel we have really tapped into our customers needs, and we also have a halal counter and more ethnic ranges.
Who is your nearest competitor? There is a nearby Sainsbury's, which is smaller than our store. We compete really well - the number of customers walking through our doors is showing double-digit growth.
Will you be getting any more tills to cope with the growing number of customers? This store has the highest use of self-scan tills in the company - there are 28,000 transactions a week. Most stores have between four and eight, but we have 18 because the average basket spend is £16, which means a high proportion of shoppers are likely to use them. We are looking to install two more in the food-to-go area.