Darpan Patel Morrisons Canning Town

Source: Photographer London

Darpan Patel was talking to Lilith Foster-Collins

Store: Morrisons Canning Town
Store manager: Darpan Patel
Opened: 2019
Size: 28,500 sq ft
Market share: N/A
Population: 1,991,277
Grocery spend: £50,382,370.93
Spend by household: £65.67
Competitors: 380

Nearest rivals: Aldi 1.8 miles, Asda 1.8 miles, Co-op 0.1 miles, Iceland 0.1 miles, Lidl 1.7 miles, M&S 1.6 miles, Morrisons 2.0 miles, Sainsbury’s 0.2 miles, Tesco 0.6 miles, Waitrose 1.4 miles

Source: CACI. For more info visit www.caci.co.uk/contact. Notes: Shopper profiling is measured using Grocery Acorn shopper segmentation. Store catchment data (market share, population, expenditure, spend by household, competition) is within a five-mile radius.

For CACI’s shopper segmentation of the other stores we visited this week see the online report at www.thegrocer.co.uk/stores/the-grocer-33

What has been your career trajectory at Morrisons? I started my journey as a general assistant in 2008. Gradually I moved forward in different positions – I’ve worked at around 15 stores already. I’ve been a store manager since the beginning of this year, and this is my third store as a manager. The stores are all quite different in terms of the demographics of the customer base and the colleagues. If the store is new, then the colleagues are newly trained, which is different to if the store has been open for 10 or 20 years, when the colleagues are very experienced.

What distinguishes Morrisons Canning Town? I took over the store just three months ago. It is quite new – it opened three years ago. Our colleagues are very friendly and because the store is new, they were trained just recently. The core of the customer training was about customer service. When the store opened, I think the company was just expecting to get passing trade. But now the area has developed and there are many flats around the area, so the customer base has completely changed. We’ve got quite a lot of regular customers.

What services do you have in your store? Our store is one of maybe three in the region to have the Market Kitchen, which is a new concept where customers can come and order takeaway food. In the normal store, when a customer goes shopping, they can have food from the café but you’ve got only limited choices there. With the Market Kitchen, customers can choose from a lot of small outlets. We have a counter where you can get wraps and salads, and then we have a hot counter where we have a different dish every day: things like rice, curries and so on. Then we have a pizza counter where we offer hot pizzas and garlic bread to the customer, which we make in front of them. Then we do fish & chips in the afternoon and a breakfast in the morning. This is a great offering because customers don’t need to wait very long. Then they can take the food away to have at home or if they want to eat in the store, we have a lot of seating arrangements for customers.

What shopper habits have you seen recently? This year we have added quite a lot of new lines for Christmas, mainly Christmas dinner. We’ve seen a lot of Christmas shopping. And frozen is hot at the moment because of the cost of living crisis. But we’ve also seen recently a peak on frozen party foods because of the football, which is another reason to celebrate for customers. Frozen is the best thing if you have to plan for parties and events.

What’s your approach to managing a store? As a store manager, I keep it very simple. Basically the company gives us the tools and my job is to make sure my management team and my colleagues have the knowledge to utilise those tools in an efficient manner – in terms of driving more stock or in terms of providing a better customer service at the checkout. In terms of looking after the colleagues, customers are feeling the heat of inflation and everything going up, my colleagues will feel that as well. As a company, we do provide them with a free hot drink and breakfast. It’s important to keep morale high, so we do have fun, and reward and recognise the colleagues to keep them positive.