Why do you think you came out top? We work very hard on availability and customer service – for us they are combined really. We have a very strong and robust stock management system and we stay on top of it. On a daily basis we chase every gap. We have very well trained colleagues and thanks to them we are top across the region for availability. It sounds obvious, but being able to offer what the customer has come in to buy is essential.
What has been selling well recently? We have done very well with fresh items, particularly those on promotion, like our three-for-£10 on meats. But non-food has also been doing really well. We had a great promotion on Fairy non-bio, which was down from £20 to £10. When you get an item like that, which has a great shelf life and is obviously great value, it sells itself, we don’t have to do much. We put them at the front of the store and we were shifting a pallet a day – about £1,000 every day. It flew out.
How about back-to-school items? Our back-to-school clothing has been selling really well. We recently had the third-highest clothing sales across the whole of Sainsbury’s. We pushed it really hard, plus we had 25% off all clothing last week, which really helped. And other associated back-to-school stuff has gone well, like lunchboxes and school bags. We have also seen a pick up in items such as microwaves, toasters and kettles being bought by students going to university.
You are swamped with local competition – do you visit your rivals? We do competitor visits periodically. It helps to see what others are up to, plus it really keeps us on our toes. We are better on availability and customer service, definitely. Another thing we do, which doesn’t get enough press, is the value we offer. Our basics range is really competitively priced and the ready meals are particularly good. You are currently a deputy manager.
How long have you worked at Sainsbury’s? I joined as a part-timer at 16, then I continued to work part time while I went to university to do my degree. When I graduated I started working my way up from there, and now I am a deputy manager at this huge store. I love it. I am learning so much. Sainsbury’s unveiled a revamped graduate scheme last week.
Why would you recommend the company? The opportunity for development that it offers. But it also challenges you as well. This brings out the best in me.