How were sales over Bonfire Night? We had fantastic sales on fireworks – and Halloween sales the week before were great. Each year the season just grows and grows. We sold through every single firework we had and we have got very little residual Halloween stock left. We exceeded our expectations. 

Why do you think your store performed so well? That’s the result of selling with sparkle! The staff work really hard. The colleagues in this store are fantastic. This store just celebrated its first birthday, 98% of the colleagues were new to Asda a year ago but they are already delivering great standards. 

Has having 98% of staff new to Asda presented any challenges? Not at all. The colleagues have really embraced the culture of Asda exceptionally well. It’s all about personality. We recruit for personality and then train the skills and service. 

Have you managed the store since it opened? No. Officially I’m holding the fort for three months. I’m the general store manager, but with a first appointment you get a ‘holding the fort’ role before it is made offical. 

There is a Tesco round the corner. How do you compete with your main rival being so close? As well as price we do it on service. We are warm and friendly and the colleagues want to deliver a great experience. 

Do promotions like Asda’s recent cut on petrol prices help? We have a busy filling station, but whenever there is a new price investment we get busier. And a busy petrol station does carry through in-store to the tills. The £5 voucher is also popular. But we already have steady sales that are growing as we look to Christmas. 

What else is selling well in store? George clothing is just fantastic, it just continually does well. And the party wear range is flying out right now. Fashionable clothes for women that are really good value. 

Have you run any other big promotions recently? We are investing into the price on everyday lines rather than running big promotions right now. Although we did run a £9 offer on one-litre bottles of Baileys last week, which was huge. We sold in excess of 200 units across the weekend when we would normally expect to sell a dozen. 

What do you like about working for Asda? It’s a company that thrives on developing individuals and getting the most out of each person. I‘ve worked for Asda for 18 years, I started on the deli counter. I’m a living example of Asda’s commitment to development. As a company, I think the development of staff is fantastic.

Mark Swift, store manager at Asda Workington, was talking to James Halliwell