Alex Bremner Tesco South Queensferry

Source: Words & Pictures

Winner: Tesco South Queensferry

Lead store manager: Alex Bremner

Size: 33,250 sq ft

Opened: 2001

Market share: 39%

Nearest stores: Morrisons – 6.9 miles, Asda – 7.1 miles, Sainsbury’s – 9.1 miles, Waitrose – 9.5 miles

Store data source: Analysis by CACI.

Call the market planning group on 020 7602 6000

Tell us a bit about what it’s been like being lead manager at this store for the past year. I moved here about a year ago from a much larger store that was quite busy. So to come to a more community-based store is actually really good. The team here are excellent. They’re passionate about what they do in terms of the jobs and about people in the community, and giving them the best service possible. I quickly settled into that rhythm too and I’ve got to know a lot of local customers.

You also have two store managers. How does the joint management approach work at the branch? It’s quite balanced and we work together quite closely to make sure we’re all giving colleagues the same message. So it actually adds a little more value than probably what’s traditional.

The store had its 20th anniversary in June. How did you celebrate? Because of restrictions they could only do a small announcement in this store. But we’re planning to do something with the colleagues and the team – maybe combine a seasonal dance with the 20th anniversary dance.

You are fresh from ‘Covid freedom day’ in Scotland. What impact has that had on your store? We’ve been heading toward that for a long time, so it’s just been a natural progression. The colleagues in the store and the management team have a good balance in terms of following the guidelines and slowly releasing. Although regulations have changed, we’re still working to the guidelines we agreed on for the last year or so.

To what extent have you been hit by supply shortages? There’s been sporadic gaps in availability but the important thing is, in this store and in Tesco, we’ve been working hard to offer alternatives. We’ve seen pockets of availability suffer, and I’ve seen gaps appear where traditionally we would have good levels of stock, but nothing that is causing a major upset.

Are you worried about the ‘pingdemic’ and its impact on staff absence rates now we’re entering the peak holiday period? We’ve seen people go off but it’s not been to levels that have worried us. The team has come together to support anybody that has been off and fill the gaps in terms of operations. That might mean a bit of overtime for somebody else or somebody working a bit harder, but we’ve not seen a real surge in staff absence.

How are you gearing up for the end of summer? Back to school is on at the moment, which is going really well. We market our quality versus M&S, and we’re about 40% cheaper than what they offer. We match that price to some of the other competitors in the market like Asda. In the next few weeks we’ll be thinking about Christmas planning, which is the next thing on our agenda. We’re going to have our local event happening for two weeks, so we’ll be selling mostly Scottish products and featuring them on the promotional space for a couple of weeks. That will be taking place next week.