Sainsburys Stathaven Kenny Bicker

Source: Isaac Craig Photography

Kenny Bicker was talking to Lilith Foster-Collins

Store: Sainsbury’s Strathaven
Store manager: Kenny Bicker
Opened: 2010
Size: 19,750 sq ft
Market share: 38.3%
Population: 18,032
Grocery spend: £503,650.49
Spend by household: £64.69
Competitors: 3

Nearest rivals: Aldi 0.3 miles, Asda 5.6 miles, Co-op 0.2 miles, Iceland 5.5 miles, Lidl 5.3 miles, M&S 7.0 miles, Morrisons 6.7 miles, Sainsbury’s 6.7 miles, Tesco 6.4 miles, Waitrose 13.3 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

What has been your career trajectory at Sainsbury’s? I’ve been with Sainsbury’s for 15 years, and I’ve worked in a number of stores across the region. I joined as a duty manager 15 years ago and progressed to deputy manager and then store manager. I was with a different company before and I’ve been with supermarkets since I was 16.

What distinguishes your store? We are a real community store. There are lots of events happening in the town throughout the year and the customers know us, and we know a lot of the customers. So I think we get a real close connection with them. Part of what happens in the town is that a lot of the events that are put on start in our car park. There’s a good vibe between the store and the community.

What demographics make up your customer base? It’s a farming town, so lots of farmers come here, a lot of families as well. When we have an event on, we see the customers go all out with the families and they will shop together. You can see them in the aisles talking about what they want. And we’ve certainly seen that happening through Christmas too.

How was the Christmas period for you? It was excellent. I’ve been with Strathaven for eight years and we broke the all-time highest sales records through this Christmas, which was fantastic to see. And when it comes to the cost of living crisis, it was a game of two halves. Throughout the past six months or so, we’ve seen our own brands really improve in store and customers shop into that. Customers were shopping into Aldi Price Match, especially in fresh food. But they were also treating themselves in trading up to Taste the Difference and brands. What I saw this year that was different to maybe the past three was that people went all out for the big Christmas dinner. So there was a definite switch this year.

What are your plans for the store as we move into the new year? We will adapt to different customer missions. Now, as customers are looking after their health, we will be showing up in the areas that we would expect them to buy into: healthy products and low-fat products. People will switch to healthier eating, so we’ll be ready for them there. We’ve got lots of promotions running on our fresh section now, supporting all of those healthy products.

What challenges are you facing at the moment and how are you dealing with them? The challenge that we’re facing just now is the cost of living: we know our customers are watching the pennies. So Aldi Price Match is a big one for us, as is Price Lock – they are probably the two main things we want to make sure our customers understand.

What’s your approach to service? We’ve got a really established routine: we’ve got a good service and management team who each follow the same routine each day. We train our colleagues to deliver great service. One thing we do through the different seasons is engage with the colleagues so they know what customers are coming to buy. So when we were coming up to Christmas, we made sure our colleagues all knew the areas that customers were going to be in and asking questions about. We do that right the way through the year, as the seasons change.