How long have you worked for Asda? Thirty-four years. I joined as a forklift truck driver when I was 21 after I came back from the Navy.
What’s changed since then? There was 10% of the range then that there is now, with shelves stacked with the same SKU from the floor up to six feet high. Today, a customer spends much less of their take-home pay on food because the range of products and competition between stores has forced prices down.
What did you think of the story that plastic bag use had increased? I was quite surprised by that news. At our store, the number of bags we use has gone down, even though sales are up 3% to 4% year-on-year, and online deliveries from this store are up by 25%. Ultimately, no one likes seeing carrier bags floating everywhere, and we have to pay for the bags we give away. The initiative to reduce bags has never stopped at Asda.
Are you working on any other green measures? We have projects at the moment to reduce use of gas, electricity and landfill across our stores. Currently only 4% of our store’s waste goes to landfill and by next year we’re hoping to have stores that are 100% non-landfill. In this store, we’re changing all the lights to long-life, low usage bulbs.
You’re right by the Old Trafford Centre. How do you stop their shoppers from hogging spaces in your car park? We used to have loads of problems but now we’ve got a monitor system that tells us when someone‘s been in a space for longer than three hours so we can put a ticket on their car. Now people know the system they don’t abuse the parking so it’s less of a concern – the store’s trading better than ever and we have more free spaces.
How do you make sure customers choose you over the competition? We’re a destination store – people drive past the competition to us because of our range. I spoke to one of our customers last week who drove nine miles to get here because they love our over-the-counter meat service.
How important has pricing and promotions been to your growth? I think the Asda Price Guarantee is one of the big things that has made a difference to the company this year. Customers come to us because they know we offer the best value. I think the fact that we’ve moved to single, low-price promotions is another reason customers choose us. They’ve got less disposable incomes and don’t want to buy four products on a multibuy – they want one at the best price.