morrisons store sign

Dale Smart was talking to Stephen Jones

Duty manager: Dale Smart
Store: Morrisons St Andrews
Opened: 1985
Size: 25,000 sq ft
Market share: 39.6%
Population: 24,853
Grocery spend: £686,409.45
Spend by household: £73.31
Competitors: 5
Nearest rivals: Aldi 0.2 miles, Asda 11.2 miles, Co-op 8 miles, Iceland 10 miles, Lidl 7.7 miles, M&S 0.3 miles, Morrisons 12 miles, Sainsbury’s 1 mile, Tesco 1 mile, Waitrose 30 miles

Source: CACI. For more info visit 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

St Andrews is known as a student town. Who’s coming into the shop? It’s a very affluent area, a lot of our usual locals are older, retired customers. But we have a mixed demographic as we get a lot of students and holidaymakers coming to the town. St Andrews is one of the top universities in Britain, so you get lots of students coming from Asia and eastern Europe. So, our world food lines sell really well. Because of our affluent shoppers, Morrisons’ The Best range tends to be popular.

There’s not much competition in town… We’re the biggest supermarket in the area. There’s an M&S and Aldi, as well as a small Sainsbury’s and Tesco. You’d think that with the affluency of the area, shoppers would hit M&S more, but we’ve got the highest market share in the town, which helps. Market Street is the number one reason people come in – none of our competitors in town do it.

What impact does the university term have on sales? The big time for us is September when the new students come. Our sales can increase by up to 40%, so we need to make sure we’ve got the right lines for them setting up their flats. Particularly our home and leisure lines, like towels and quilts – everything they might need. First impressions count, and if they’re able to get everything they need the first time they come into the shop, they’ll come back during their whole time at university. They might be here for two, three or five years, and we want to retain them.

Morrisons recently introduced new ‘when it’s gone it’s gone’ lines. How have they performed? There’s some really unique lines, and it’s been popular across demographics. We’ve recently had a lot of air fryer liners, which flew out. Suitcases have also been popular. There have been other things like kids’ bikes, t-shirts and boxers, which have sold really well. They’re a new driver for the company – Aldi and Lidl do it very well and we’ve now put a marker down, and we’ve nailed it so far.

Our visit coincided with Scotland’s first game at the Euros. How did you prepare in store? This is the first time Scotland has been at a major tournament in a number of years. It’s a big event in Scotland and so people want to celebrate. We had a deal on Corona specially for the Euros. But also, champagnes – we’ve had an offer on bottles of Charles Clement, priced at £17, down from £25. Other than that, we’ve had flags and bunting for sale around the store. Also, I don’t know if it’s tied into the football, but there’s a demand for local lines lately. For example, we’ve got new displays from Murdoch Allen, a bakery that’s based in Dundee, which has sold straight through. Then there’s Modern Standard coffee, which is roasted 10 miles from here. But the biggest one has been the Scottish cheese.

What’s been some of the standout feedback from the customer panels? I always try to do a couple of roundtables a month. It can sometimes be off the cuff, for example if a customer wants to speak with me, I’ll sit down and have a coffee with them. Service is probably the big thing in terms of feedback. Customers will go to a certain till because they know the person who is serving them. I try to convey to colleagues that all of our customers should feel like that.