matt clarke sainsburys swansea

I hear you had a revamp not long ago? Yes we had a big refurb a year ago and I led the team through that. It was really tough; we were closed for a week. It was a case of take everything out and starting again to give our clothing and GM more space. We also got a new patisserie and the café was completely refurbished. Plus we had a big extension to accommodate 10 vans for online delivery. We’ve traded well ever since. Our clothing, café and patisserie counter have traded exceptionally well, and those are three areas that are completely unrecognisable from before.

Sainsbury’s brought out its interim results last week and growth appeared slow. How did you communicate that to your team? It was just about getting colleagues to understand we’re in a little bit of a transition period at the minute but it’s a big transformation and it’s going really well. We have 112 Argos stores in Sainsbury’s branches and we’re on target to make £540m in cost savings. There is a real added value for our customers. They can pick up a far bigger range of GM products and shop for food at the same time, plus we take away the extra rent costs of having an Argos on the high street.

You scored really well on shop floor service. How do you encourage high standards among your team? Since the beginning of this financial year we’ve done a lot of one-to-one coaching with our colleagues explaining to them how their customer service really is a point of difference against competitors. We try to give our customers magic moments; that’s service people will go away and talk to their friends about. So we teach our colleagues to speak to customers when they look like they need help rather than waiting for them to come to us. We also do role plays with them on the shop floor as well. I pretend to be a customer and give them feedback and we have some fun with it.

How well prepared are you for Christmas? We’re making space for Christmas products and we’re starting to do festive displays. We’ve got all our Christmas gifting out and sales are going really well. Our Christmas bakery products are also out and our mince pies baked in-store are selling well.

And what do you make of the Christmas ads this year? I’ve only really seen the Sainsbury’s one so far and I think it’s really good. If people see it enough, I think the tune will be catchy. It’s different and not like any other Christmas ad out there; it’s about having some fun with food and we hope it will resonate with customers. We’ve tried to align it with our existing campaign so as soon as it comes on the TV, you know it’s Sainsbury’s, whereas in previous ads you’ve had to wait until halfway through or the end to find out.

Winner: Sainsbury’s Swansea

Store manager: Matt Clarke

Size: 45,000 sq ft

Opened: 1984

Market share: 14%

Nearest rivals: Tesco - 0.6 miles, Morrisons - 2.1 miles, Asda - 4.3 miles

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