Winner: Waitrose Goldsworth Park

Store manager: Rob Chisholm

Opened: 1983

Size: 19,000 sq

Market share: 22.3%

Nearest rivals:

Morrisons: 1.1 miles,

Sainsbury’s: 1.5 miles,

Asda: 2.1 miles

Store data source:Analysis by CACI. Call the market planning group on 020 7602 6000 Waitrose wins a close competition

How long have you been at the store? Six months. I joined straight from the army last year where I was a Major in the infantry.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. Each week the winning store manager is interviewed by The Grocer. I had never worked in retail before. I did three months of pure training, then I ran a small branch as a stand-in before moving here for a temporary role to cover for a manager on long leave. He retired on the back of that and I took over. My take on it was ‘get the partners working in a different way’.

What are you doing differently? I have got some really good partners and managers. My take has been to give them overall direction but to allow them to manage, to let them decide how to do it. I will tell them the ‘what’ and leave the ‘how’ down to them and their teams. They have responded really well to that approach.

It must be very different to being in the Army. It’s more similar than you might imagine; it’s very people orientated. But I was really lucky in that I inherited a really good branch with a stable partner population, some of whom have been where for 25 or 30 years. They had inbuilt high standards and that is down to my predecessor. But equally they have responded really well to the sense of empowerment I have tried to instil. I take my hat of to them.

It is results week this week – and for Waitrose partners that means bonuses. How do you think it will go? You won’t tie me down to a figure! But I am quietly optimistic. It has been a tough year for everyone, so it won’t be as good as last year, but last year was pretty special. The branch is buzzing with anticipation at what our bonus might be. I follow the line of ‘set your expectations low and you won’t be disappointed’!

It is quite rare for any employees to be getting a bonus these days, after all. It is, and that is what I am going to say to the partners. The co-ownership model is what drew me to Waitrose in the first place. It has a great reputation for looking after its people and I haven’t been disappointed at all.

Rob Chisholm was talking to James Halliwell