Congratulations – why do you think you won? We’ve been working really hard on availability and also service. We have got really intense competition in the area – we have a flagship Tesco opposite us which is over 90,000 sq ft; we are 34,000 sq ft. There is an Asda a mile away, another Tesco a mile away and a Morrisons and a Waitrose a couple of miles away. Plus an Aldi. So my team are delighted with this news, absolutely buzzing. It’s a very prestigious award. I have a fantastic team that works alongside me. When the chips are down the commitment shown by the team is incredible. It makes a huge difference to me as a manager to have such a great team.
With so much competition, what do you think you do better? We have a strong point of difference because we can offer better quality, but we also have to give better service and availability. Tesco and Asda offer a strong non-food range – but we attract a higher foodie range of customers. And Sainsbury’s will always try and be competitive on price, especially on branded items. We are very price-competitive at the moment.
Have you had any issues rising from the E.coli scare? I’ve had very little comment about E.coli from our customers. And I haven’t noticed a dip in sales of cucumbers or anything like that. We have been a little heavy on salad, but then the weather hasn’t been great, so its hard to tell. We didn’t remove any products from sale.
What is selling well in store at the moment? Feed your Family for a Fiver is generating a high pick-up on own-label. People want to eat good food but at the same time pay less for it. And our Feed a Family of Four for £50 a week is doing well. You get a breakfast, a lunch and dinner for a family of four and £50 is the cost of ingredients. All the items are spread out in the normal locations but highlighted with wobblers so they can be located easily. They are flying out.
How long have you been with Sainsbury’s? For 29 years – I joined in 1982. The biggest change for me is the things that have changed back to how they were. Core values when I joined about how to treat customers, colleagues and suppliers were very important back in those days. Then we wobbled in the 1980s and 1990s. And I think we became successful again when we started to focus on those core values. Justin King guided us back to concentrating on them, and that was the catalyst for the resurrection of Sainsbury’s.