What do you make of the Tesco price cuts? I can certainly understand why Tesco has done it. I think it is tapping into how customers are feeling at the moment by making the price cuts.
How do you think it will affect Waitrose’s brand price-matching with Tesco? We will just continue to match the brand prices that we do already. We don’t match every single brand, but plenty of key lines. It will be interesting to see how it plays out and how long Tesco keeps it up.
How do you compete with your nearby rivals? We regularly go to check out all the stores that are close by. I think our store has a nice ambience – there is more space, and our service is the best. We are all passionate about delivering great customer service. Our staff will go out of their way to help and make every customer’s shopping experience the best they can.
What is selling particularly well? Our Love Life range is doing great. And Essential – there has been a big investment in our own-label ranges and it is paying off. The quality of Love Life, in particular, is excellent. We have them up in the staff dining room and members of staff often comment that it is nice to have something that is healthy, but tastes so good. And I think that is what a lot of customers are after.
What do you feel you bring to the store personally? I have been here for less than two months, although I started out here originally, so it has been lovely to return as the branch manager. I am really passionate about shop floor standards and availability and other members of staff are the same, so we really stay on top of both those fundamentals at key times, like when the store is getting very busy.
Have you made any changes in store recently? We have just put in our seasonal wall. It is split half-andhalf between Halloween and Christmas. We’ve gone a lot bigger on Halloween than last year and it’s doing really well. Once Halloween is over, we’ll turn it over to Christmas.
How are Heston’s puddings selling this year so far? I think we had to restock the shelves after two hours – so they are going very well. There is a mini one with a clementine in this year as well. We have increased our order this year to meet demand.
What do you like about working for Waitrose? The biggest thing for me is the family atmosphere we have at this store. We all work really well as a team. It makes a big difference to be able to come into the store in the morning and work alongside people you really care about. I love it.
Gill Huynh, store manager at Waitrose Cheadle Hulme, was talking to James Halliwell
How do we calculate the Grocer 33?
The Grocer 33 is a weekly mystery shopping survey, tracking price, service and availability at the five leading grocery retailers: Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.