How was the long stretch over Easter and the Royal Wedding? Tough! The good weather put a lot of pressure on supply, and the bank holidays one after the other put us under extreme pressure.
Which weekend was busier? The Royal Wedding weekend. Easter is roughly the same period every year but the Royal Wedding was the unknown and that traded particularly strongly. It was tough at the time but looking back business was booming, which was terrific.
How did you keep up with availability? Getting ahead of trade, we call it. Our sales are monitored and supply goes up or down as a result. But we struggled with availability on the Thursday before the wedding – that was the busiest day. It got really busy at 10am and carried on right through to 9pm. But we had a great couple of weeks likefor- like. Normally when you get shortened trading hours you struggle, but we have the reverse effect.
What sold particularly well? We saw double-digit growth in wines and spirits. We are having a wine festival right now, with deep cuts of up to half price across selected lines. And we had a two for £26 on litre bottles of spirits including Pimm’s. We have sold phenomenal amounts of that! We are the only store with a garden centre, which was also really busy – that saw high double-digit growth. The weather has helped trade – there were a lot of parties, which helped sales of drinks and snacks, plus we sold a lot of temporary tables for street parties.
Have you introduced any new seasonal lines in store? We have introduced about 200 in the past four weeks, including 50 new fruit and veg lines. We’ve also introduced a cross between a strawberry and a raspberry – it’s called a strasberry and it is delicious!
How long have you been with Tesco? I’ve been with Tesco for 25 years. There have been some major changes, such as moving into nonfood. Plus there is a lot more fresh food, and a massive rise in the variety of ready meals. And then there’s online delivery. We operate six vans and would operate more if we could.
What would you most like to change about the store? Make it bigger! The biggest request we get from customers is for clothing, so if we could change anything, that would be it. We are currently planning with the local authorities for an extension, and that should start to progress in the next two or three months.