Q&A with Fraser Craig Store manager of the wee
How challenging is it to run a store during a refit? It is definitely challenging. The mezzanine looks like a Meccano set at the moment. We are usually open 24 hours but have been closing at 11pm to enable construction. We have had to extend our online service and put extra vans on the road. A 20% uplift in our online sales is predicted during the refit. We will also have Scotland's first Tesco Direct in-store and our own mobile phone shop. What steps are you taking to be more energy efficient? Sir Terry Leahy has outlined a strong plan for energy efficiency. My personal targets are to reduce carrier bags by 25% this year and double recycling in-store. We have a regional recycling expert who looks at how we can save money and energy. Green paper bins seem to have sprung up overnight. How technologically advanced is your store? Because we are so new and such a big store, I have got virtually every gadget I want. The latest is a brand new tag for CDs and DVDs that locks through the case and into the disc's central hole. If a thief breaks the lock, the CD breaks so it's almost impossible to steal. Who are your competitors? We have an Asda down the road. It is open 24 hours as well but is 30 years old and, quite frankly, it looks it. Is it easy to attract staff? We are successful at attracting our competitors' best staff members. In the past few weeks I have interviewed two people from Morrisons, one from Makro and one man from Marks & Spencer. How has store management changed since you first started in the business? It is a lot simpler. Tesco has removed much of the complexity of the job so we can now make better use of our time. I spend most of the day on the shop floor, talking to customers and staff. This is enjoyable but, as I mentioned, results in me wearing shoes out rather quickly!
Asda Burgh Heath, Surrey
2 - This Asda branch was well maintained and tidy. The staff took great care to look after our shopper but did not offer to pack her bags. The gammon steak and own-label whipping cream were both out of stock, although an assistant did her best to locate them. The receipt was error-free. We visited on 4 May at 12.15pm. Our shop lasted one hour. Time spent at the checkout was five minutes.
Morrisons Killingworth, Newcastle Upon Tyne
1 - The Killingworth Morrisons store did not provide a full basket as the Wall's Viennetta was out of stock. However, there were many special offers and the staff were friendly and knowledgeable. A large number of shelf-stackers were working but kept out of the way. Our shopper noted that 19 of the 26 checkouts were open. We visited on 4 May at 9.15am. Our shop lasted one hour and 15 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was two minutes, 30 seconds.
Sainsbury's Surbiton, Surrey
0 - Tthis Sainsbury's had a slightly strange layout, according to our shopper, which meant he found it challenging to find the items. However, the staff were cheerful and accommodating and there were some inviting special offers, especially on the meat products. A full basket was provided and 11 of the 14 tills were open. We visited on 4 May at 10am. Our shop lasted 50 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was three minutes.
Somerfield Standish, Lancashire
0 - This Somerfield store did not stock the Lynx shower gel or Heinz WeightWatchers ready meal. The store was clean and tidy and staff were helpful, though only three of the 10 checkouts were open. No help was offered to pack bags and our shopper thought the 90-minute car park limit was restricting. We visited on 4 May at 9.19am. Our shop lasted 44 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was seven minutes and 30 seconds.
Tesco Coatbridge, Lanarkshire
0 - Despite the epic size of this Tesco Extra, the store was fully merchandised and offered a full basket. Our shopper said the store was busy but the staff were professional and polite. The meat and fish displays were eyecatching, there were plenty of special offers and 26 of the 27 checkouts were open. We visited on 4 May at 11.57am. Our shop lasted one hour and five minutes. Time spent at the checkout was three minutes.
Waitrose Chesham, Buckinghamshire
0 - Attractive displays, clean aisles and a calm atmosphere were all reported by our shopper. There were samples of French cheese and wine outside. The staff were enthusiastic yet unrushed. The store did not stock the 750g size of unsmoked gammon, however. We visited on 4 May at 9.35am. Our shop lasted 35 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was four minutes.