Tesco Solihull

Zoe Wellings was talking to Ian Quinn

Team manager: Zoe Wellings
Store: Tesco Extra, Solihull
Opened: 1988
Size: 68,000 sq ft
Market share: 4.7%
Population: 629,892
Grocery spend: £15,135,365.67
Spend by household: £65.90
Competitors: 101
Nearest rivals: Aldi 0.7 miles, Asda 0.5 miles, Co-op 0.6 miles, Iceland 0.6 miles, Lidl 1.4 miles, M&S 1.1 miles, Morrisons 1.9 miles, Sainsbury’s 1.1 miles, Tesco 0.8 miles, Waitrose 0.7 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

Has the sunshine come to Solihull and how has it affected trade? The good weather impacts trade in different ways, so we go from spinning all of our plates to refocusing very quickly on our summer ranges. We have to do a lot of forward planning so checking weather apps is always a good start.

What have people been stocking up on for their BBQs? Our Fire Pit range has been going very well. It’s one of those lines where the packaging pretty much sells it before it even gets on the shelves really. We’re also getting a lot more technical with trends online through social media. A lot of people are doing things now like smoking meat so the accessories are getting wider too. It’s not just burgers and sausages, it’s a lot more diverse – a bit more Mediterranean-focused.

You have had a refresh of your fresh department. Sounds like good timing: We’ve completed it as of this week. It’s been a complete reset of our dairy and fresh food department, with better signage and a customer experience around different shopping styles geared at a bigger range to offer all shopping trips. We’ve got a lot more halal lines, a lot more vegetarian and vegan lines. The shopping trip is really well signposted and set out to cover a wider variety of shopping requirements. We delivered it in about two weeks and tried to minimise the disruption to customers. It’s been well received, especially our vegan options, it’s a really booming market.

How has the new Root & Soul range landed? We’ve got that in our Finest food area in front of store and we can’t keep up with the demand, it’s so popular. It’s something a bit different and they like having that wow factor on the shopping trip, of let’s try something new.

Have you got the new TiKTok-inspired salad bays? We’ve got our own version of it, yes. We’ve got bays where people can grab and go. We’ve got salad toppers and a variety of salad bases.

Do you have the new digital advertising screens yet? Last week and the previous week we had digital screens installed. At the end of our power aisle we have a 12 ft screen which people see when they walk in. We’ve also utilised what we call our goalpost, which is our far wall where the BWS often sits. I think it’s a really good element for a customer to see a different variation on PoS marketing, not just very flat shelf edge technology. It elevates the store and brings a 3D element.

We have a very large demographic of families that bring in a younger audience that are very confident with technology so it’s not alien to them. The one caveat is how do we guide the demographic that aren’t confident with technology – having a really engaged colleague base is really important for that. We’ve got just over 420 staff in store and 30 managers. A 30-strong management team can only be in a certain place for so long

Our shopper managed to pick up a rare full basket. How do you deliver such strong availability? A key focus has been on getting the right hours in the right place and investing in our teams. A lot has been groundwork on training and making sure what we’re asking of them can be delivered. It’s important to have a really good collaborative culture. We’ve got areas of our business which are digitised, but in store for the vast majority we’ve got pickers picking products and they have to make really clear decisions about customer quality, dates and things like that. Unless they are trained properly, we’d be off the pace.

What’s the next big in-store event? We’re now geared up to go into the Euros, that’s our next big trade event. It will depend how far we get. But if they are anything like my husband it won’t matter what’s on the telly, they will watch it. It’s a cultural thing and I think we will see a big impact on trade.

How did you come to join Tesco? I’m a bit of an anomaly. I’ve only been in the business about a year-and-a-half. I took the plunge a year-and-a-half ago. I can see my house from the dotcom gates behind me which is wonderful in some ways but not in others. I was in jewellery retail and used to be a store manager for quite a high profile jewellery firm. Currently I’m waiting for my placement as a store manager. It’s very different but still very customer focused and that’s the element I really enjoy bringing to this business.