Sainsburys Lisburn store manager

Eddie Gowdy was talking to Stephen Jones

Store manager: Eddie Gowdy
Store: Sainsbury’s Lisburn
Opened: 2003
Size: 54,000 sq ft
Market share: 17.8%
Population: 97,266
Grocery spend: £2,649,054.76
Spend by household: £69.44
Competitors: 8
Nearest rivals: Aldi 71 miles, Asda 7 miles, Co-op 1.3 miles, Iceland 1.6 miles, Lidl 50.2 miles, M&S 0.4 miles, Morrisons 50.6 miles, Sainsbury’s 7.2 miles, Tesco 1.7 miles, Waitrose 112.1 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

Give me a breakdown of your career to date: I started my career 18 years ago, when I joined my local Sainsbury’s branch in Newry as produce manager. I’ve worked my way up through various roles since then. I’ve been a store manager now for 12 years and joined this store in September.

Has anything changed in the store since its last win in 2021? Lisburn is what we now classify as a destination store. That means we offer the majority of services that are available at Sainsbury’s. There have been quite a few recent changes that have been really positive. We opened an Argos concession in February and an on-demand service was rolled out to Northern Ireland about six months ago. It was a soft launch, but customers have reacted well. It adds a different way of shopping, and adds to an extensive online operation with a 10-van delivery service.

A fifth of your shoppers are classed as families on a budget, what are they coming in for? We’re really in an advantageous position – because of our range we can cater to all customers. We have the biggest food range available to customers in Northern Ireland. We have a lot of entry-level Stamford Street lines, but also a massive range of Taste the Difference. When you talk about being best in town, it’s the range and service we offer our customers that differentiates us from our three major competitors within the local community.

Are you one of the 15% of stores that stock Sainsbury’s full food range? No, when I talk about the offer, it’s compared to the rest of our stores in Northern Ireland. There are some lines – like patisserie, for example – which are only offered in some stores in England.

Is this the biggest store in Northern Ireland? It has the second-biggest footprint in NI behind west Belfast. We have over 240 colleagues who work across a variety of different roles and a variety of different contracts. Many are doing multichannel, multifunctional roles. I’ve had the pleasure of working in all of the 12 Sainsbury’s stores in Northern Ireland in some capacity. Two or three for a very limited time, but others permanently. Across the board, we do service a vast majority of the Northern Irish community through various channels. We may only have 12 sites, but there are loads of different channels we operate out of – be that online, on demand or through Argos.

Has the implementation of the Westminster Framework affected availability? You can’t get away from the fact there is a bit of water between us and Sainsbury’s stores elsewhere. But the people we work with have been tremendous and the disruption, if any, has been minimal. We work with quite a few logistics partners to ensure we get the best service. On a whole, there’s been no noticeable difference in availability during my time here.  

Did the implementation of the Argos concession cause any difficulties? It was a space we were no longer using, so we’ve now got a fully operating site again, which is fantastic. If you asked me three or four years ago, my answer might have been different, but we’ve learnt loads as a business since then. The implementation worked seamlessly, because we had the colleagues where you needed them.