Q&A with Neil Swift Store manager of the week
What products are selling particularly well at the moment? As winter approaches, we tend to sell a lot more comfort foods such as custards and stews. In addition, we have introduced a 'winter warmers' section at our butchers, which includes fresh meats that are perfect for cooking at this time of year such as steak and kidney and diced stewing steak. It has proved very popular. Morrisons is a food specialist for everyone and that is something we take to heart in this store. How do you achieve such strong availability? As a store manager, availability is one of my core objectives but there really isn't a secret recipe. It's just about hard work and dedication. All our ordering is done in-store and many of our staff are given responsibility for a section, and the ordering required for that section, so there is a sense of pride and accountability, which helps them ensure high availability. What kind of management headaches do you experience? My headaches are caused on the way to work! I have a 40-mile commute, through rural roads, and it usually includes me getting stuck behind a tractor or a lorry, which is irritating. Despite this, the fantastic staff do make the journey worthwhile and it is a great store to work in with a real sense of community. How do you motivate staff? As store manager it is my duty to support and encourage personal progression. I like to praise success and recognise the hard work that is done by my team. I suppose I like to make a fuss when someone has achieved something - it's important to the staff and it is important to me. Who is your biggest competitor? There is a large Tesco store three miles away and we are definitely in direct competition with it. Since the rebrand, we have seen such amazing sales growth that it must be the case that we have drawn in some of Tesco customers.
Asda Watford, Hertfordshire
0 - The cleanliness of the store, toilets and cafe all satisfied our shopper, and she was pleased the aisles were free of obstructions. The staff were polite and directed her to a couple of products she could not locate. However, our shopper felt the store was not busy enough to justify the 11 minute wait at the checkout. We visited on 5 October at 5.40pm. Our shop lasted one hour and five minutes. Time spent at the checkout was 11 minutes.
Morrisons Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire
0 - This week's Top Store in Chapel-en-le-Frith put in a good performance according to our shopper. As well as providing all 33 products on our list, our shopper said this was a "state of the art store" that boasted an easy layout, brilliant cafe and a wide range of special offers throughout the store. We visited on 5 October at 12.50am. Our shop lasted one hour and two minutes. Time spent at the checkout was two minutes.
Sainsbury's Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear
1 - Our shopper found the layout of this store a little confusing and struggled to find a number of items on our list, although staff at the customer service desk could not have been more helpful in locating missing items. The store was busy and although staff were rushing to fill shelves, they were careful not get in our shopper's way. We visited on 5 October at 9.30am. Our shop lasted one hour and 20 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was three minutes.
Somerfield Brixton, London
3 - This store was disorganised and dishevelled-looking. Someone had disgarded a number of trolleys in the frozen foods section, blocking access to the freezers. Our shopper could not find some items, although staff were helpful. Two of the three out-of-stocks included McCain Hashbrowns and Lynx shower gel. We visited on 5 October at 3.30pm. Our shop lasted 35 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was four minutes.
Tesco Newtownabbey, County Antrim
1 - This week's Tesco store received a less than glowing report. One member of staff was rude to our shopper, his receipt had a error on it and some items were poorly labelled. When he asked about an out-of-stock - a gammon joint - he was told it was unavailable due to the foot and mouth outbreak. We visited on 5 October at 8.18am. Our shop lasted one hour and 22 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was five minutes.
Waitrose Esher, Surrey
2 - Our shopper was pleased with the service at this Waitrose store. Staff were polite and well mannered. One offered to pack her bag and another ran after her to return a pen she had left at the till. The store was clean and organised, and eight of 12 checkouts were open. We visited on 5 October at 9.55am. Our shop lasted 39 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was five minutes.