I worked for Asda for seven years in various operational roles, with responsibilities such as head office merchandising.
After that I went on to work for Fenwicks in its food hall and progressed from there to join convenience store chain Walter Wilson’s in Gateshead.
It was a customer of Nisa-Today’s and I did some project work for the company. After that I spent three years at Costcutter as trading director, then became commercial director at Nisa-Today’s and joined Somerfield after that.
Describe your experience at Somerfield
I began working in the buying department in 2000 as commercial director and deputy buying director. I was responsible for beers, wines & spirits, grocery, non-food and quality assurance. Then I switched direction and became format director in March 2003.
I am charged with devising Somerfield’s new format plans, looking after the 1,300-store Somerfield and Kwik Save portfolio. I manage a large team overseeing store layout, design and the implementation of the strategy. I usually spend three days in the office and two days visiting stores.
What is the toughest part of your job?
The challenge and opportunity involved in finding solutions to the problems of implementing formats for such a diverse store portfolio. But the interest and enthusiasm shown by store managers certainly helps.
What are your future career plans?
I’d like to stick to what I’m doing for the moment.
I enjoy looking at the combination of customer needs and the requirements of our store portfolio. What I most like is designing formats that meet the demands of our customer base, rather than making customers conform to our design specifications. It means that I have to go right back to scratch in order to put together store concepts.