Nick Lloyd

Nick Lloyd, managing director of Symonds Forecourts

Symonds has only been in business for six years, but it’s already gathering a legion of fans - including our judges.

Now with nine stores trading under the Budgens and Londis fascias and serving 60,000 customers a week, the South West-based chain - number 30 in The Grocer’s Top 50 independents ranking - increased turnover by 33% to £43m, with profits up 126% in the past year.

This performance is all the more impressive given the intense pressure Symonds has come under from the mults in the past year. In March 2012, a Tesco Express opened 500 yards from its Gloucester store, sending sales down 30%. Within six months all lost business had been recovered.

Then, in November 2012, a Morrisons store opened a mile away from its Wells forecourt store. It fought back with an aggressive cut-price fuel campaign, maintaining both shop sales and fuel volumes.

The judges were also impressed by Symonds’ work with local producers such as Jon Thorner’s butchers for meats and pies, Box Bush Farm for organic fruit juices and Godminster farm for organic cheese.

It also has a strong management training programme designed to attract the best candidates at sales advisor and supervisor level. Each candidate is assigned a mentor for the 12-month programme.

A new training manual was also developed in 2012 called Service & Safety 24/7 to ensure that whatever time of day, stores have the same standards, level of service and focus on safety so every customer receives the same high-quality service.


The Grocer Gold Awards 2013 - Grocer of the Year