waitrose altrincham ashley gaunt

Source: Martin Hambleton Photography

Winner: Waitrose Altrincham, Cheshire

Manager: Ashley Gaunt

Opened: 2009

Size: 18,000 sq ft

Nearest rivals: Aldi - 1 mile Sainsbury’s - 2.2 miles, Tesco - 2.3 miles

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

You really excelled on shop floor service and store standards even at the peak Friday trading period. How do you drive that? The way the branch is presented for customers throughout the day is vital. Shoppers need to have a good experience in the branch from beginning to end, which means everything from signage to cleanliness needs to be good.

Availability was the only blip. How do you look to ensure gap-free shelves? It’s about using your eyes and ears - walking the shop floor and talking to customers and partners about any gaps they spot.

Is there a feature you’d like to add to the store? I’d love to expand the café area, as we have restricted space to host as many customers there as I’d like to. We have about 20 tables, which means there are times we could really do with more space, and as customers ask for more food and drink items to be added there, accommodating that demand would be ideal.

How is the Easter range looking? Good. All our Easter eggs have come into stock and we’ve got some great lines that will really capture shoppers’ imaginations. Our chocolate avocado Easter egg went down really well last year, and we’ve added mini chocolate avocados and lime-flavoured vegan jelly avocados, which we hope will be just as popular.

It’s the 10th anniversary of the branch. What are you doing to mark the occasion? As it’s such a milestone, we’ve got a party planned at the end of the summer for partners, and there’s something in the pipeline externally for customers too. It’s all in the planning stages at the moment.

What do you see as the most important element of a store manager’s role? Communication with partners and customers. There is so much going on both at Waitrose and in the wider retail sector that we like to keep the team and our shoppers up to date with.