sainsbury's dunstable john ratcliffe

Winner: Sainsbury’s Dunstable

Store manager: John Ratcliffe

Size: 45,000 sq ft

Opened: 1996

Market share: 14.5%

Nearest rivals: Asda - 0.6 miles Morrisons - 2.1 miles Tesco - 2.2 miles Lidl - 3.4 miles

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

Sainsbury’s has called time on Brand Match. Do many of your customers use the scheme? It’s a mixture, really. Our hardcore shoppers know how it works and use Brand Match to their advantage the best they can. But there are a good few shoppers who don’t use it; people don’t always remember to bring their vouchers back. So by reducing the offer to low everyday prices, people will get a discount whenever they shop. I think it sounds and feels better to have competitive prices instead of lots of offers. I think we’re doing the right thing.

Are you worried Tesco will steal shoppers by accepting Brand Match coupons? Definitely not. Why take the vouchers to Tesco when you could use them at Sainsbury’s? You’d have to buy Tesco products, which are nowhere near as good quality as Sainsbury’s. Prices are a massive thing but not everything; we’ve got great service, quality and freshness.

Your store got full marks for layout. What is the secret? We always have a very clear store plan. It’s about the ease of the shopping experience. The first thing I did when I took over as manager was clear the foyer and entrance area and make sure we have no additional bulk stacks anywhere. The store is clean, fresh and tidy, and an open environment.

There was a lot of positive feedback on the helpfulness of the staff. How have you instilled this ethos? We do lots of live roleplays rather than just observing people. I say ‘today you’re going to imagine I’m a customer looking for an out-of-stock item, how do you deal with that?’ We give instant feedback. We also do a tremendous amount of work in the community. There’s an old people’s home across the road, and 100 colleagues have been trained by a dementia charity so we have an understanding of the condition. We provide food to the local soup kitchen and we’re the number one fundraiser in the company for Sport Relief.