Winner: Asda, Newcstle-under-Lyme
Store manager: Martin Stendall
Size: 55,000 sq ft
Market share: 13.1%
Nearest rivals: Morrisons 0.8 miles, Sainsbury’s 2.1 miles, Tesco 3.9 miles
Store data source: Analysis by CACI. Call the market planning group on 020 7602 6000
Our shopper was full of praise for the overall warmth and helpfulness of staff. How do you keep them motivated? Although it can be hard work, the secret is to always have fun. Just last weekend we had all staff wearing Christmas onesies from George, while two colleagues - Sandra and Debra - had their heads shaved for Asda’s Tickled Pink campaign. When you walk into some rivals, staff can be too serious and that translates to the overall atmosphere.
During the mystery shop, several turkey sampling sessions were taking place. How are things shaping up ahead of Christmas? We’ve seen customers budgeting and purchasing presents earlier than ever. The new music, DVD and video game releases have been massive sellers for us along with the winter George range. There has been a lot of work to change the perception around George and that is translating well in sales.
With a new M&S store set to join you at Wolstanton Retail Park next year, how worried are you about the competition? We’re not worried as the M&S store will drive a different type of customer who will become curious about our great prices.
Asda recently announced it plans to invest £250m in improving the quality, design and style of stores over the next five years. How will this impact the store? There are improvements in the pipeline and a lot of that will be around improving the space and offering a wider range of products to revamp categories. The conference I attended at Asda House a few months ago revealed very definite plans in regards to layout and maintaining value.
And just how popular is click & collect becoming? It’s now a huge part of what we do. We offer two types, one for groceries, another for Asda Direct. In terms of grocery, orders have increased 10 times over last year and I only see that growth continuing in 2014. If we can maintain a high standard on deliveries and collections, more and more customers will start to use these services.