Q&A with Eric Keeler Store manager of the week
How have you been affected by the floods? The rain has affected availability and quality of some of our fresh produce - broccoli in particular. Broccoli is normally a beautiful deep green colour and firm with a consistent size and shape. But our recent delivery was soft and of varied colour and size, and that was on its first day on the shelf. Because of this poor quality it is no longer being sent out from our distribution centre. Which products are selling well at the moment? Our organic range is doing well. We sell a box of seasonal organic fruit and vegetables for £10, which is proving popular with customers. Sales of organic produce have increased since we started sourcing local produce. A customer favourite is Suffolk Rapeseed oil, but my favourite has to be the sweetfire beetroot chilli. With a view to sourcing more products locally, I went to the Norfolk Show and met local food producers. We set up a buying team to source local produce, including dairy, from the eastern counties. Are you ready for the influx of student staff members? Yes - we get the same ones back each year. It's interesting because many of them have gone off to university in places such as Sheffield and Manchester and come back here and tell staff members how lucky they are to live and work in such a beautiful part of the world. How involved are you with the local community? We have built up a great relationship with the local parish. We were judged in the recent Anglia in Bloom contest. For that event, staff volunteers went out and picked up every piece of litter around the store. What part of the job do you like best? Being on the shop floor. I helped a lady find a product in the bakery and thought nothing of it. She then went to the checkout and asked to speak to the manager to congratulate the "lovely young man on the bakery"!
Asda Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire
0 - This well laid-out and tidy store was proud to proclaim Asda's triumph in The Grocer Gold Awards with copious banners around the store. The staff were helpful and friendly but were having to deal with a number of shoppers complaining about the car park payment system. The white grapefruit was not stocked at this store. We visited on 20 July at 10.40am. Our shop lasted 45 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was eight minutes.
Morrisons Killingworth, Tyne and Wear
0 - The polite and enthusiastic staff at this Morrisons outlet impressed our shopper but the fruit and veg aisles were obstructed by boxes of produce on the floor. A full basket was provided and the checkout assistant said hello and goodbye and also offered to help pack our shopper's bags. Of the 26 checkouts, 22 were open. We visited on 20 July at 11.30am. Our shop lasted one hour and 20 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was seven minutes.
Sainsbury's Lisburn, County Antrim
0 - The cunning staff at this Sainsbury's deduced our shopper was doing a survey as the store manager joined him for part of the shop. Despite this, packing trolleys were left abandoned in aisles and cardboard littered the floor. The staff were eager to please and only the Warburtons - not stocked in Northern Ireland - was unavailable. We visited on 20 July at 8.40am. Our shop lasted one hour and 28 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was two minutes.
Somerfield St Ninians, Stirling
3 - This quiet store was out of stock of white grapefruit, the 16-packs of Twix biscuits and the own-label fresh turkey steak. However, the store itself was bright, clean and welcoming with plenty of special offers and the staff were faultless in their customer care. Of the eight checkouts, four were open, which was sufficient. We visited on 20 July at 9.43am. Our shop lasted one hour and two minutes. Time spent at the checkout was five minutes.
Tesco Martlesham Heath, Suffolk
0 - Our winning store was found to be well-presented and tidily maintained with strong availability. It provided every item on the list and also boasted a variety of special offers throughout the store. The staff were chatty and escorted our shopper to the location of items rather than just telling her where they were. We visited on 20 July at 9.05am. Our shop lasted one hour. Time spent at the checkout was six minutes and 30 seconds.
Waitrose Banstead, Surrey
1 - This Waitrose was clean and the staff showed our shopper the location of products, and even drew her a map of the directions to Londis. But the till operator ruined it by not saying hello or goodbye and didn't push items from the conveyor belt after scanning them. We visited on 20 July at 3pm. Our shop lasted 50 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was five minutes.