Garry Hindaugh Sainsburys Whitley Bay

Source: Emma Solomon Photography

Store: Sainsbury’s Whitley Bay
Store manager: Garry Hindhaugh
Opened: December 1989
Size: 36,310 sq ft
Market share: 16.1%
Population: 300,344
Grocery spend: £7,308,646.46
Spend by household: £53
Competitors: 53

Nearest rivals: Aldi 1.2 miles, Asda 2.8 miles, Co-op 0.5 miles, Iceland 1.3 miles, Lidl 3.1 miles, M&S 2.2 miles, Morrisons 1.1 miles, Sainsbury’s 1.3 miles, Tesco 1.0 miles, Waitrose 6.1 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 our service & availability report

This isn’t your first Grocer 33 win. No, I’ve been lucky enough to win twice before – I was with Asda before I joined Sainsbury’s, and my last G33 win was in 2010. I switched to Sainsbury’s about 10 years ago, and I’ve been in Whitley Bay almost 10 months now.

Which managerial qualities do you think are behind all these victories? This is going to sound clichéd, but I believe the colleagues make the difference. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some brilliant people in my time in retail, and the key thing is we always have a sharp focus on the customer. Of course, profitability is really important, but if you turn the lens on the customer, you can’t go wrong.

Have you made substantial changes to Whitley Bay that may have contributed to this win? We’ve seen a real change in customer shopping behaviour as the country has opened up. There’s been a move from online to more customers coming into the shop, so we’ve had a real drive on shop floor standards, certainly since the turn of the year. There’s also been a real drive on value, with the company making a major investment in our product proposition, and our job is to make sure the customers see that value when they come in.

How much of a decrease in online have you seen since joining the store? I’ve seen an online shopping slowdown since the start of the year, but we’ve not really lost that trade as people are coming in to shop in person. I also think some of that’s down to the current cost of living challenges our customers are facing – sometimes it’s easier to come into the shop and see the value in person. We’ve gone big on the Sainsbury’s Quality Aldi Price Match value message in store.

What other changes have you made to the shop in the past 10 months as manager? In the past four weeks, we’ve moved a lot of the shop floor around to be compliant with HFSS legislation. We finished that work a week before we got the Grocer 33 visit. The biggest change was to promotional ends – we don’t have as many now, and they’re almost in the middle of the aisles. We had to move pretty much every single category on the shop floor.

What do your gondola ends look like now? There are no products on them, only point of sale information for customers, such as encouraging them to use the Nectar scheme.

Is the store fully HFSS compliant? We’ve still got a bit of work to do on fresh foods, but in terms of the ambient food hall, we’re compliant. The fresh food programme will be complete by the end of the year. We’ve also tried to make sure our checkout operators are the most informed colleagues in the shop, as they have conversations with customers who go through the tills, and quite often feel their frustration when we move products.

How are you preparing for the coming heatwave? From a replenishment point of view, we’re focusing on products like BBQ, burgers, buns, ice creams and pops, water, and of course we’ve got some great beer deals on at the moment. I hope I’m not going to regret saying this, but we had no refrigeration issues in the previous heatwave. The temperatures in the north-east are expected to peak at around 25 degrees, so hopefully we should be able to manage.