With competition fiercer than ever, stores have to work much harder these days to win over shoppers - as David Beattie and his team at Morrisons in Abbeydale, a suburb of Gloucester with a strong community atmosphere, know only too well.

“The challenge for us is to stop people driving past our store to shop elsewhere,” admits Beattie whose store is only the fourth most-suited retailer to the area, according to CACI. “We manage that because of our strong value offer and customer service. Our customers come back time and again."

Creating a strong sense of community spirit is crucial and Beattie believes his store’s quick response to last summer’s floods played an important role in winning this week’s Top Store Award.

“Business went through the roof overnight. There were 30 or 40 customers queuing outside at 8am, desperate to stock up on fresh water and basic commodities, but we responded magnificently."

Though Morrisons is not the most-suited retailer to the area, Beattie doesn’t fear his local rivals. “Tesco opened a big store here 18 months ago and there was concern that it would have a knock-on effect on our business,” he says. “In fact sales went in the other direction and last month we achieved our best ever like-for-like sales growth.

“The current economic climate is moving in Morrisons’ direction. Our customers want value and quality and that’s what we deliver.”

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