steve plumridge sainsbury's ipswich

Winner: Sainsbury’s Ipswich

Store manager: Steve Plumridge

Opened: 1992

Size: 46,220 sq ft

Market share: 14.1%

Nearest rivals: Lidl - 0.3 miles Waitrose - 1.1 miles Morrisons - 1.3 miles

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

Congratulations on providing all 33 items on a busy Friday evening - what’s your secret? We work really hard on availability. We have great processes in place so if a product is in the store then it is on the shelf. We chase out of stocks throughout the day. As well as this our strategy of value simplification and EDLP has also really helped us manage stock levels. 

And you weren’t caught out by the good weather this weekend? No, there is a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure we are ready for this kind of thing. Even at a local level we are looking at forecasts to make sure we have the right kind of volumes in. Obviously this weekend we saw good sales of burgers and sausages as people took the opportunity to have one last barbecue this year. This was combined with the rugby as well, so naturally there was a big push on beer too.

Our shopper was impressed by the level of customer service - how do you deliver on this? We are constantly running refresher programmes on service, and rewarding and developing talent in our stores. We are always looking for new and fun ways to reward staff. We recently had a trip to Colchester Zoo and we also went for afternoon tea, with the managers dressing up in tuxedos to serve staff their cakes.

Sainsbury’s increased its standard rate of pay to £7.36 per hour last month - what have staff made of it? I can’t overstate the impact it has had on colleagues. It was always felt we paid a fair wage but this has moved it on a step. 

So what’s next for the store - are you gearing up for Halloween? Absolutely. I think Halloween is going to be huge for us this year. There have been a lot of customer concerns about the safety of children’s costumes and our trading team have put a lot of work into ensuring all our costumes have gone through the toughest testing processes so customers can be reassured. We are also doing a lot more costumes for adults.