Q&A with Howard Stacey Store manager of the week
Which products are selling especially well at the moment? We are really pushing our Market Street products. Sales of our fresh food produce are 25% to 30% up on last year. I put this down to Morrisons re-branding and becoming closer to our suppliers. Sandwiches are also up 51% compared with last year, which reflects well on our Eat Smart sandwich range. We are on a high street, so workers buy their lunch from us. What's the local competition like? A bigger Asda opened in Frome last year and there's a Tesco Extra nearby in Trowbridge, but I think we've gained customers from them as we are up 10% on last year. Also, I think people are put off by Asda. The store is just not appealing. There was a Somerfield in Warminster, but they couldn't compete with us and closed two months ago. Does being on a high street bring any challenges? We have had to be careful to keep local residents and customers happy. A couple of customers complained last summer that, because their windows were open, our night deliveries were keeping them awake. So I contacted transport and we now have no deliveries between 11pm and 6am. What is your latest energy-saving measure? We have rolled out the Switching On to Switching Off energy-saving campaign. We have saved £3,000 since February from doing things like turning off lights and we now have curtains around the fresh food in the stock area to save energy. Any new technology working well? Our availability has developed thanks to laser hand-held units, which we've had for a few months. If a staff member finds a gap on the shelves, they zap the product's shelf ticket, which transmits upstairs and notifies our sales guys in Bradford who send more stock. Did you really sell cappuccino-flavoured cheese? Yes! It arrived from head office and wasn't our bestselling line, but I certainly enjoyed a slice on a digestive.
Asda Basildon, Essex
1 - This huge Asda outlet was well merchandised and our shopper found it simple to locate all of the items on the list. The residents of Basildon must be in party mood as the Mars Celebrations were out of stock. The staff were happy to help and were smartly presented and polite. Thirty four out of 42 checkouts were open. We visited on 18 May at 9.55am. Our shop lasted one hour and 10 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was one minute.
Morrisons Warminster, Wiltshire
0 - Our shopper visited this week's champion store during an early morning rush. Although the staff were focused on preparing for the day ahead, they were happy to find products for our shopper from the stockroom. The checkout assistants were successfully keeping queues to a minimum despite the large numbers of customers. We visited on 18 May at 8.34am. Our shop lasted 56 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was two minutes.
Sainsbury's Drumchapel, Glasgow
1 - Our eagle-eyed Scottish shopper never misses a bargain and was happy to report that the Drumchapel Sainsbury's was awash with special offers. The Birds Eye Chicken Dippers were out of stock but there was not a packing trolley or shelf-stacker in sight. The helpful checkout assistant had a pleasant and mature attitude. We visited on 18 May at 10.17am. Our shop lasted one hour and eight minutes. Time spent at the checkout was four minutes.
Somerfield Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire
1 - Our Somerfield shopper found the Ashby de la Zouch branch to be be tidily maintained. The lights in the freezer cabinets were not working, forcing our shopper to open each door to find the correct product. Packing trolleys were used in the aisles but did not present an obstacle. The own-label Scotch eggs were out of stock. We visited on 18 May at 9.57am. Our shop lasted 30 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was nine minutes.
Tesco Altrincham, Cheshire
2 - The aisles of this Tesco Extra were congested with packing trolleys and staff with home shopping container buggies and there were lots of gaps on shelves. All 27 checkouts were humming and customer services did not suffer despite the hectic conditions. The McVitie's chocolate digestives and 4-packs of crossaints were out of stock. We visited on 18 May at 2.00pm. Our shop lasted one hour and 10 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was seven minutes.
Waitrose Dorking, Surrey
0 - The bustling Dorking branch of Waitrose was clean and litter-free, but encumbered with packing trolleys and shelf stackers. The store did not stock the Birds Eye Chicken Dippers or Aquafresh toothpaste. The staff were keen to offer help and nine out of 11 checkouts were operating. We visited on 18 May at 6.00pm. Our shop lasted one hour. Time spent at the checkout was eight minutes.