The items were easy to find and an assistant helped our shopper locate the bread and informed her the store would soon be stocking more Hovis lines. The checkout assistant greeted our shopper and explained she could get 50% off at the in-store café with a voucher attached to the receipt.
Waitrose in Wilmslow also impressed, although the checkout assistant failed to greet our shopper. It provided a full shop, the queues were short, the aisles free of packing trolleys and parking was easy.
One out-of-stock item let Asda in Enniskillen down and packing trolleys were obstructing some aisles. The store was busy, as it attracts many cross-border customers, but despite this, parking was easy and the queues were short.
Morrisons' Aberdeen branch also had one out-of-stock item. The car park was difficult to get in and out of and some of the aisles were overcrowded. Another negative was that the checkout assistant seemed more interested in chatting with passers-by than with our shopper.
Availability disappointed at Tesco's Martlesham store. An assistant escorted our shopper to the olive oil and plenty of tills were open. Plus the checkout assistant was polite and offered to pack.
Winner: Stuart James, store manager, Sainsbury's, Burton upon Trent
Our shopper described your store as a friendly one. How do you keep the atmosphere so upbeat? Motivating staff is very much about culture, coaching, driving a positive atmosphere and balancing that with genuine people skills and friendships. We recently developed a new management team, which is working out well, and we have since seen really strong growth. Some 28% of our colleagues have been at this store for more than 20 years, which shows how enjoyable it is working here.
How are you celebrating Sainsbury's 140th anniversary? We will be holding an in-store celebration from 22 to 25 May, over the bank holiday weekend. There will be a huge cake available for customers and we will be issuing bags for life that feature a picture of John and Mary Sainsbury opening Sainsbury's first-ever store, in Drury Lane, London. We will also be promoting some of the items we first started selling all those years ago, such as Red Label tea bags. The staff will be dressing up and there will be balloons around the store, of course. We are also planning a separate party for colleagues and veterans. We started out with a statement of Good Food Costs Less, and those values still remain a key part of how we work.
How effective has the Switch and Save campaign been? It’s had a significant impact. So many customers have switched from branded goods to the Sainsbury's equivalent. We have seen a huge increase in our Basics sales – it has been a huge credit to us. The Feed Your Family for a Fiver campaign is also a huge hit and still drives traditional family values. We update the recipes every three weeks on average, and colleagues and customers have the opportunity to give feedback to head office with recipe ideas.
Who is your biggest competitor in Burton upon Trent? We have all the big multiples in this area, but if I had to pick one it would be Morrisons – the branch is considerably bigger than ours. We are both centrally located and town centre retailing can get quite difficult. I do think we manage to compete well, though.