It is a big start to the week for Tesco, announcing the 1,000-item price drop and refund voucher scheme if Asda is cheaper. It is! It is a massive piece of work, but also a very exciting one. All week we will have offers going on. It only launched this morning but the store is already looking busier than normal. It is an excellent mechanic, to combat Asda in this way. 

Has Asda’s 10% cheaper Price Guarantee affected you? Not particularly. I thought that it might, but I don’t think the customers fully understand it to be honest. We have seen a few of their refund vouchers, but it’s only been a slow trickle, maybe 20 a week. 

How often do you visit the Asda nearby? I go regularly – at least once a week – and I encourage my senior team to go in once a week as well. Overall I think we are better. I don’t think they have the edge on anything apart from their pizza counter, which is successful for them and something we were unable to install. 

What have you done to address that? We put pizzas on a gondola end whereas before they were just integrated into a section. So now we feature them very strongly, and give them a bit of extra space, and as a result pizza sales have risen by almost 30%. 

What’s been happening in the store recently? We had a very extensive store refit about six months ago, which allowed us to follow what our local customers wanted – we set up a customer panel, which provided us with excellent market research. We introduced a Tesco Direct desk, which was the most sought-after service at the customer panel. It also identified the car park as an issue so we have invested very heavily in that. 

You have a price-sensitive demographic – how do you cater for that? We ensure that our discount brands and value lines are always fully featured. And we take it into consideration for any promotions. We also relaunched our discount brands a few weeks ago, which has been very successful. 

Do you have any influence on the size of a particular category? Yes, to a great degree. There were several things about the store that I wanted to improve when I arrived, like clothing. We recently increased our clothing range by about 20% and saw a 20% boost in sales as a result. I was also able to play a big part in the store’s refit, which is a good thing for a manager to be able to do.