Source: Frank Wood Photo

Winner: Sainsbury’s Northfield Superstore, Birmingham

Store manager: Umar Javid

Size: 35,081 sq ft

Opened: May 2002

Market share: 10%

Nearest stores: Tesco – 1.0 miles, Morrisons – 1.7 miles, Asda – 2.1 miles, Waitrose – 3.3 miles

Store data source: Analysis by CACI.

Call the market planning group on 020 7602 6000

Tell us about your background with Sainsbury’s?

I’ve been with Sainsbury’s for 17 years and I’ve been in the Northfield store for seven weeks. So far we’ve made some really good progress across our service and store standards. My main priority at the minute is around service and standards and then just preparing for Christmas.

What will Christmas look like in terms of availability and buying habits?

We are seeing our customers looking to buy little and often in terms of Christmas purchases. The customers I’ve spoken to are saying they are looking to purchase Christmas-related items earlier than usual. Our turkey ranges launched a couple of weeks ago and we’ve got a good supply of turkeys at the moment. We’ve had no concerns with our customers across our turkey or individual categories. We’ve got a good range of products currently on display. Customers aren’t panicking, but they’re just thinking a little bit differently with the way they’re going to shop this Christmas.

How are you preparing for potential staff shortages during Christmas with the increase of covid cases?

At store level, our absence has sort of just maintained, but Covid is a high priority within Sainsbury’s so we continue to have a range of measures in place to ensure the safety of our colleagues and customers. We’ve launched our biggest-ever Christmas recruitment drive, creating 22,000 jobs across Sainsbury’s and Argos. Part of that recruitment drive is an exciting incentive payment plan which is also being introduced. We obviously understand that there have been some supply challenges across the industry, but our teams and colleagues are working really hard to make sure our customers can find everything they need.

Halloween is just around the corner. What are the most popular items currently?

We’re pretty much in the final run-up, which we also really believe will be a big one as last year celebrations were put on hold. Confectionery is going well, we’ve got a good range of pumpkins still, and a good range of fancy dress options as well.

Our shopper said the crisps aisle looked very bare. Are you still having issues with some categories?

Some categories have seen challenges recently. There are alternatives available in our own-brand crisps. We continue to review that work tirelessly with our logistics and supply chain teams.

Sainsbury’s just announced it will install LED lighting systems across the entire store estate. Is this already in place in your branch?

We’ve got a full LED lighting system. We’re looking to become a lot more sustainable within our business and we’re making lots of changes to our food more than anything. The net zero commitment is all part of our Plan for Better priority, which will drive change that is better for the planet and better for everyone. We’re really proud that we’re principal partner of the COP26. We believe that we can all come together and take action on the climate crisis.