How has Brand Match gone down with customers? Really well, it is just so straightforward. It is a very powerful tool. Loyal customers could get rewarded and new customers see that we can match the prices. We were talking to our regulars about it. Some were pleased not to get a voucher as it confirmed we aren’t more expensive on brands.
There is a huge Asda a mile away from you. Will Brand Match help you to compete? We can’t compete on size and range but we can – and do – compete in the way we treat the customer. And the fantastic thing is that Brand Match means we can price match them, which we couldn’t do before.
Now that brand prices are matched, how do you think your own-label offering stacks up against your rivals’? We are really confident about our own-label products. We have a wide range from Basics to Taste the Difference. We cater for all tastebuds and price ranges. And we just improved more than 70% of our products.
How long have you worked for Sainsbury’s? For 37 years. I joined in 1974 and the first big promotion I remember was Discount ‘78. It was very secretive before it launched, but customers latched on to it straight away. Sales rose dramatically – I forget the exact numbers – but we had very powerful price points and displays. It was the first time I came across plinth ends and things like that.
What else has changed during that time? So much has changed. We used to sell two types of cheese and now we sell 450. But Sainsbury’s is actually going full circle. We are returning to the values we used to have when I joined, such as putting the customer first, offering value. We are constantly looking for customer feedback.
How do you reward colleagues when that feedback is good? We have a number of ways, including a Recognition Card. If positive feedback comes in about a colleague, we put points on a card that they can then use to make purchases in store. Winning this will mean a lot to the team here. It is recognition of the hard work they put in, as well as the teamwork. The team is all.
What is the most challenging thing about your job? The big challenge is dealing with all the little challenges. We don’t operate on people or send rockets into space, we deal with the day-to-day stuff – and there is always something around the corner. But that is the exciting thing about working in retail.