john taylor waitrose comely bank edinburgh

This is the second time the store has won in two years. How do you keep standards high? We get feedback about partners from customers daily, so recognising good performance is important. For example, we have a partner of the month poster on the shop floor, and give those who have really gone the extra mile gifts such as wine, chocolates or flowers.

What do partners and customers make of the Waitrose & Partners rebrand? I for one love the new TV advert with John Lewis - what’s important is that it highlights partners as the core of the business. Partners have really taken to the rebrand too, with many saying it is stylish. We haven’t had masses of feedback from customers, but I expect it could be a slow burner.

You’ve been with Waitrose for 13 years. What makes it a good employer? We all spend so much of our time at work so you want it to be a happy and fun place, which is what Waitrose gives me. It’s also important for me to work somewhere that matches my values.

The store has four rival stores within a mile. What makes it stand out? We got a Sushi Daily counter in 2016, which has fantastic products and fantastic sales to boot. A community room opened last year, which charities and church groups can book to use. We’ve also used it for training so it’s a great addition to the branch.

How has Waitrose’s range review affected your store? Quite a few categories have been reset already, such as bread and cheese. It has been very positive for efficiency because of the reduction of lines. It’s been a great move.

Waitrose has just pledged to add ‘a suitable for vegans’ label to its own brand lines. Will customers like it? I expect so, as grocery retail is about offering options these days. Our extended vegan and vegetarian range, with more than 50 new lines, has been really popular, as has our vegan section.

How have customers reacted to the disposable coffee cup and plastic straw bans? We’ve had no negative feedback from customers about either, and I think that’s mainly because both were well communicated ahead of time.

What’s the most challenging aspect of being a store manager? It’s tricky to keep learning and watching co-workers, but both of those are must dos. I enjoy interacting with partners and customers most but every day is different, so some days I’ll be concentrating on administration tasks for the majority of the day rather than being on the shop floor.

Winner: Waitrose Comely Bank, Edinburgh

Store manager: John Taylor

Opened: 2006

Size: 25,000 sq ft

Market share: 7%

Nearest rivals: Morrisons - 0.8 miles, Tesco - 0.9 miles, Sainsbury’s - 0.9 miles, Lidl - 1 mile

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