When did you join the store? I joined six months ago after the store had been refitted from a 40,000 sq ft superstore to the 60,000 sq ft Extra it is today. I came in to help put it back on its feet after a tough refit.
What challenges did you face when you arrived? It’s a fantastic extension, but there were some operational difficulties in the store. The turnover became so huge when the store reopened with extra concessions, such as an optician and a pharmacy, that it fell behind with routine and processes. We lost the store for a week and a half, and availability was at an all-time low. It took two to three weeks to get the shelves full again.
How did you turn the store around? Everybody had a part to play, and there wasn’t one person on the payroll who was not upset by the whole thing and determined to put it right. We had to flood the store with resources and worked day and night to get it up to scratch. Our regional FD brought in some very good managers from the Welsh region to encourage our managers who were falling behind a bit.
How did you lure customers back? Nine thousand customers came back and were incredibly forgiving and understanding. I put a flip chart at the front of our store and wrote a simple message that said “we’re very sorry for the shelves not being completely full and we’re working day and night to fix it”. I also invited customers to talk to me on the shop floor. Complaints came down because they could see we were going through a very tough period. Sales are now 50% higher than last year, before the extension.
What energy saving measures does your store boast? People probably don’t know that at Tesco we recycle all our packaging, cardboard and plastic – that’s 100 cages per day on average just for this shop. We also dim the lights overnight and have energy-saving lights in the offices.
Which promotions are popular at the moment? We had a promotion last week where you could buy apples, strawberries, kiwis, pears, a punnet of grapes and nectarines all for £5. As a dad of three I know that was a really good deal and it was incredibly successful – we sold just over 450,000 cases of those lines in just over two days.
Our shopper gave the store top marks for cleanliness – is that a particular focus of yours? It’s incredibly important. I want customers to be confident that the products they choose have been well looked after.