Winner: Tesco, Banbury
Store manager: Emma Brandon
Size: 71,500 sq ft
Market share: 28%
Nearest rivals: Waitrose – 0.6 miles, Morrisons – 1.7 miles, Sainsbury’s – 2.1 miles
Store data source: Analysis by CACI.
Call the market planning group on 020 7602 6000
You had a full basket this week – the first since before lockdown. How have you brought back availability? The team here are really experienced and have worked hard to pull it back around. There are still some staple lines, such as flour and sugar, that are taking a little longer to get back on track. But we have simplified and reduced some ranges in store as well, which has helped customers and also made it more efficient to fill shelves.
Checkout and layout also scored full marks, and the mystery shopper was impressed with the systems in place. How have you maintained them? Safety has been the priority throughout the pandemic. The one-way system works really well in this store. It’s nice and spacious, so there is a lot more room to be safe while shopping. We have a team at the front of store to manage the queuing system outside, but we’ve seen a reduction in waiting times as we’ve been able to get more customers in store safely now.
What is the plan for managing queues longer term, when the weather turns? There are trials going on across the Tesco estate at the moment. And individual stores have their own cold weather and wet weather plans. We have an inside queueing system here if we need to let customers in from the rain.
Promotions are still not back to pre-Covid levels across the industry. Are you noticing an increase in store? Promotions have started coming back in. We currently have a ‘great prices’ event in the health and beauty category where we have some key lines promoted.
Are customers starting to browse again and shop more of the general merchandise category? We are getting noticeably more customers heading up to the mezzanine level, with sales for GM and clothing increasing. Shoppers are definitely starting to browse the shop and take a little more time in store.
How are face mask sales going? Sales are going well, but not to the extreme of overtaking staple grocery lines. I’ve not noticed every customer buying masks, but they are still selling well.
Has the crisis made it more difficult to stick to targets for plastic reduction? No. We are still continuing with our plan to reduce plastic, that hasn’t changed.
Have many staff on the government’s vulnerable list been returning to work? We have colleagues starting to return gradually. The one thing we have been very conscious of is getting them back safely and making sure they are OK. We have a launched a mini-induction for colleagues coming back to make sure they have everything they need and feel comfortable, which has worked really well this week.
How are the staff who have been working through it all holding up? We’ve had a lot of temporary colleagues helping us, who have been fantastic. The permanent colleagues have rolled with all the changes and worked really hard. We are making a real effort to recognise all their efforts for all the great service they have provided. But it has been very tough for everybody.