Tesco Extra in North Shields by Alison Spedding (2)

Source: Alison Spedding

Gary Ewart was talking to Lilith Foster-Collins

Store: Tesco, North Shields
Store manager: Gary Ewart
Opened: 2002
Size: 52,488 sq ft
Market share: 11.53%
Population: 448,376
Grocery spend: £10,821,097.33
Spend by household: £53.19
Competitors: 77
Nearest rivals: Aldi 1.0 miles, Asda 1.6 miles, Co-op 1.6 miles, Iceland 0.0 miles, Lidl 1.5 miles, M&S 0.5 miles, Morrisons 1.4 miles, Sainsbury’s 2.0 miles, Tesco 0.7 miles, Waitrose 4.9 miles

Source: CACI. For more info visit www.caci.co.uk/contact. 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 the online report at www.thegrocer.co.uk/stores/the-grocer-33

How long have you been working for Tesco? This will be my 39th year with Tesco. Can you believe I actually started that many moons back? We used to have Saturday jobs, before we had minimum contracts.

What was your first store like? I actually started in a place called Tesco Shopping City. It was a bit of a concept store, like a Debenhams with various concessions inside. I had the pleasure of working on the records department. In the mid-80s jobs were not particularly easy to come by, so when I was offered a full-time role I jumped in.

And when did you become a store manager? I started working as a store manager in a Metro store in the centre of Newcastle 20 years ago. I actually was part of the opening team for the North Shields store more than 20 years ago. This is my third Grocer 33 win as a store manager.

What key lessons have you learnt from your time as a store manager? I think it always helps if you’ve got a really good mentor. You always cast your mind back to the really good store managers you’ve worked for in the past, and you take a bit away from them in how they impacted you. One thing I’ve really learnt is that you only get from people what you put into them and seeing people as individuals is absolutely key. It makes for a really good working relationship.

Can you tell me about the store itself? The store building has a really unusual past. Before it was a Tesco, it was a car auction, so it started off as just an empty shell. We’ve got a large chimney, probably about a hundred foot high, and that used to be part of a munitions site in World War II.

How do you ensure you’re serving the local community? We’re really quite lucky. I’ve got a couple of fantastic community champions that work in the store, Kerry and Stephen. We use social media, which allows us to reach more people and show what’s on offer. We work with several organisations on a regular basis but we also help on an ad hoc basis – for example, the local football club asking for some raffle prizes.

Service was particularly good in store this week. How do you ensure standards stay high as a manager? We are quite fortunate in this area in that the people who work here naturally reflect our local community. They’re a friendly bunch, which makes it much easier. For me, management is all about recognition, letting people know when we get good customer feedback. Everybody likes to be recognised for their work and it makes it a nicer environment to work in. It’s also about living, eating and breathing customer service yourself – it’s really important that you model it.

What’s a favourite interaction you’ve had with a customer recently? I had a funny conversation with an elderly couple recently who were debating which Christmas jumper to get. He wanted the Del Boy jumper and his wife was trying to persuade him to choose a more sedate one. I was walking past and got sucked into the conversation. I tried to sit on the fence which I think I managed to do quite successfully. I think he ended up getting his own way. That made me chuckle a little bit because there was so much time and effort going into what Christmas jumper he was going to have.