Joe Young Aldi Shiremoor

Source: Tom Hibberd Photography

Winner: Aldi Shiremoor

Store manager: Joe Young

Opened: November 2018

Store size: 11,000 sq ft

Market share: 2.9%

Nearest stores: Sainsbury’s – 0.2 miles, Asda – 1.0 miles, Tesco – 1.0 miles, Morrisons – 1.8 miles, Waitrose – 4.3 miles

Store data source: Analysis by CACI.

Call the market planning group on 020 7602 6000

Can you tell us a little bit about your journey with Aldi? I’ve been at Aldi for eight years, but actually only took over this store three weeks ago. I started as a store assistant in Cramlington, near where I lived. After about 10 months I was promoted to deputy store manager and I was really lucky to work with someone who believed in me and put me forward to become a store manager. I’ve managed two other stores before coming to Shiremoor and I’m excited to work together with my team to make the store an even better place to shop and work. I think because Aldi is growing, with new stores opening all the time, there are always opportunities for hard working people to progress.

How much of a challenge has availability been at the store, with the ongoing lorry driver shortage? The supply chain at Aldi is very lean, so we can order products in just as we need them, which has helped us cope better than other retailers nearby given the current challenges. For example, when we know some suppliers might struggle to make deliveries, we carry more stock than normal and balance our weekly order to mitigate supply challenges wherever we can. That way we can be confident we have the product in when people want to buy it.It’s a juggle with fresh products that have short shelf lives, but we’ve managed so far to have good availability without increasing our waste.

Is availability picking up on Specialbuys given the global shipping disruption this year? Availability of Specialbuys is definitely improving and we’re pretty much back on track. When we were having issues, what was really good were the daily messages we’d receive saying what was delayed, so we were always able to keep customers up to date. The team have done a brilliant job and thankfully customers were very understanding as they saw so much on the news about the external factors that were affecting us. We’ve got a really exciting range of Specialbuys coming in later this year as we head into Christmas and the team are looking forward to seeing these arrive in store very soon..

Our shopper described the shop as an efficient and stress-free experience. What is the secret to good customer service amid all the logistical challenges? The team here have had a really positive, flexible attitude through all the recent challenges and I’m really proud to say this has been the case with all of the teams I’ve worked with at Aldi. We’re a small team, only around 30 colleagues, so we’re really close-knit and we help each other out.If someone wants the weekend off, I always try to look after them, and in return they don’t mind working extra shifts when I need them. If the team are happy working, then they will also do the right thing for our customers.

How have shopping habits changed since lockdown restrictions ended? People are definitely starting to shop more often than they were, but we still don’t really know what ‘normal’ looks like. I think people are still trying to figure out when is best for them to shop. It’s hard because you can’t assume this week’s shopping patterns will be the same as last week’s, so that makes managing availability tricky.

Most businesses are finding it difficult to recruit. Are you doing anything to encourage interest in working at Aldi? For the past few years Aldi has only accepted online applications, but we’ve recently started accepting CVs at the store again. It means when we see a good CV, or someone comes in who’s got a really good attitude, we can act quickly and get them on board. It worked for me eight years ago, so I’m pleased to give someone else the same chance.

Aldi is focusing on new sustainable initiatives, such as installing new fridge doors to reduce carbon emissions or using alternatives to plastic packaging. Have you adopted any of Aldi’s new sustainability measures? We don’t have fridge doors yet but we hope to get them as part of the national roll out. We’ve started selling salad boxes without plastic forks, and we’re also part of a trial selling loose fruit and veg. Customers love it as it means they only buy what they need, so as well as less plastic there’s also less waste at home.

How are you gearing up for the autumn and winter seasons? I’m really looking forward to my first Christmas at Shiremoor, and we’re excited to see the first few lines coming in over the next week or so. I think there’ll be lots of new products, which hopefully our customers will enjoy. Christmas is always a special time at Aldi, and I think this Christmas will see a really big push now people can see each other again. I’m really excited to see all of that land in store and work with the team to get our customers excited too!