Tony Gagola

Tony Gagola, manager of Sainsbury’s West Green in Crawley

I understand you joined the store not long ago? I’ve been here about 20 months. I came from Eastbourne. I’ve really enjoyed it; it’s a bigger store and a new challenge.

Have you made any changes since starting at Crawley? What we’ve really looked at is service. We spend quite a bit of time looking at local competitors because there are lots in the area, and we look at being the best in town. We also pride ourselves on being the best for our online customers. We need availability to be right at 4am when their orders are being picked, so you get as good a deal as if you come in at 7am or 8am.

Winner: Sainsbury’s West Green, Crawley

Manager: Tony Gagola

Opened: 1997

Size: 80,000 sq ft

Market share: 15.2%

Nearest rivals: Morrisons - 0.7 miles: Asda - 1.1 miles; Aldi - 1.1 miles; Tesco - 1.4 miles

Store data source: Analysis by CACI. Call the market planning group on 020 7602 6000

Speaking of availability, how is the move towards more daytime replenishment going? That’s working well. We’re trying to do a bit of both so we’ve got night and day replenishment. You get better service as a customer because you’ve got someone to talk to when stock is being replenished. When it was outside hours, you didn’t see as many people on the floor during the day.

Have you joined other Sainsbury’s stores in moving stock to your top shelves? Yes that’s a company-wide rollout and we’ve pretty much implemented it across the store. That also helps with availability because a few people will check if stock is available on the shelf and fill from the top shelf if there’s a gap. Most customers don’t even notice it’s there.

Is there anything else new going on? We set up a pilot 1869 coffee bar in July along with two other stores. The bar is by Sainsbury’s and it has the name 1869 because that’s when Sainsbury’s was founded. We removed our customer service desk for the bar and we now have a separate checkout for refunds. It’s gone really well. Sales have been above expectations. I can’t speak for every customer but most find it really useful; you can get a coffee or a pastry and either do shopping in the store or go out with your coffee.

What do you think of how Sainsbury’s is performing in the market? I am pleased with what the team has done with Argos and Habitat and new initiatives like Smart Shop, which we should get in the next 12 to 18 months in our store. I think we’ve probably got it about right. I think it’s about being future fit and making sure you’re ahead of the game, and things like parcel collection with DPD, eBay and Argos is ahead of the game. It’s all about convenience now, isn’t it?

Finally, a few of the Christmas ads are coming out now. What do you make of your rivals’ efforts? I have to say the only one I’ve seen is the M&S one with Paddington. I actually thought the Mrs Claus one last year was better!