Manager Colin Pittock may have only taken over at Booker’s Redhill branch in May this year, but he has a solid 21 years’ history with the company. He joined the business at Aldershot, where he worked for 10 years and then moved to the Brighton branch as its wine and spirits manager. Pittock’s solid work led to him being promoted up through the ranks to the position of deputy manager at Booker’s Eastbourne branch. There he stayed for two years until his promotion to his current position.
“During the time I have worked for Booker I have seen an improvement in the structure of the company that makes it easy to move into another position if you get promoted,” he notes.
Booker’s Redhill branch is one of 173, an outlet of medium size, with the retail trade accounting for two thirds of its customer base. Pittock manages his own deputy, along with five supervisors and 33 members of staff on varying shift patterns. He says establishing a good relationship with staff is important, as is making time to ensure ongoing staff training programmes are carried out. “We have a core of long-serving members of staff. I believe that an ongoing training scheme and maintaining a close relationship with the team is key to staff retention.”
The company as a whole is looking forward to any plans Charles Wilson might bring to the business, once he has settled in following his appointment as chief executive in November. For himself, Pittock says he is clearly focused on progressing the delivered wholesale side of the business, which the company wants to build on nationwide. He also hopes to increase his focus on retail customers, which are key for the Redhill branch.
The surrounding areas are dotted with off-licences and convenience stores, which constitute a large part of its business. But, as Pittock notes, Redhill is near to the big city and London operators such as Dhamecha are numbered among the branch’s rivals.
One way to steal a march on his competitors, says Pittock, could be to focus on internet services, an