Robert Bayley tesco chepstow

Source: Hannah Brown Photography

Winner: Tesco Chepstow

Store manager: Robert Bayley

Open: 1998

Size: 37,000 sq ft

Market share: 14.8%

Nearest rivals: Lidl - 1 mile, Asda - 6 miles, Waitrose - 6.1 miles

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

How is the store looking now compared with the height of panic buying? The team has been absolutely amazing over the past three months in terms of pulling together. I’ve led with a really clear purpose around safety and social distancing. My assistant manager Connor has been fantastic in focusing on the trading side so I can look after the customer/colleague side. If you tried to run the whole operation at the moment you would struggle. Availability is generally good now, aside from flour.

Our mystery shopper felt safe and complimented staff on their social distancing awareness. How have you managed the safety measures? As a business, we created a social distancing team that looked after front of store and the checkout system. We communicated everybody’s role and what they are accountable for around the shop. I really made a stand around ensuring I’m looking after the colleagues while they are at work. Customers have generally been great, but if any are not following social distancing, then I’m very clear with them.

Have there been any difficulties in Chepstow with different lockdown rules in England and Wales? Being on the Welsh border makes it interesting, with Wales two weeks behind England in easing lockdown. When you head over the bridge by the shop and cross the river you are in England, so you have half a town coming out of lockdown and the other half still in full lockdown. But it hasn’t caused as many headaches as you might expect.

What is the planning for long-term measures as the UK eases out of lockdown? We are going to just sustain what we are doing and make sure the colleagues lead by example, because that is where it can go wrong. If staff forget to social distance, customers will pick up on that.

Are customers wearing masks or face coverings when they come into store? It’s a mix. I’d say it is maybe 50/50.

How are you communicating with colleagues on the government shielding list? I have a percentage of the team out and we are working really closely with them on the situation. We’ve made sure we’ve had great communication between the team manager and those colleagues. Every fortnight they’ve had a conversation to see how they are. We’ve done a piece of work asking how they’d feel if they were asked to come back. So we have a very good understanding of how each colleague is feeling.

Are staff feeling appreciated by the business and by shoppers? Morale feels really good. What the past three months has shown me is how committed and driven the team are. Not one of my team managers has missed work with days off throughout the crisis. We get lots of positive comments on our customer viewpoint system, which I share with staff. Morale is probably the strongest it has been for a long time.

Has the new barbecue Fire Pit range sold well during the sunny weather? It has gone down well with customers. It is a great range and the packaging is really good on it.