Winner: Waitrose Lewes
Store manager:
Maryanne Alexander
Opened: 2005
Size: 17,000 sq
Nearest rivals:
: 0.4 miles
Aldi: 0.4 miles
Store data source: Analysis by CACI.
Call the market planning group on 020 7602 6000

An Aldi opened in the town last August. How has the additional competition affected the store? Our initial concern was that consumers would migrate for money reasons but that doesn’t seem to have happened. We worked hard to ensure people didn’t leave. Overall we’re really happy with sales over that past six months.

What did you do to prepare the shop for Aldi’s arrival? It’s important to put yourself in the shoes of the customer, so we focused on improving availability and customer service. To keep shelves well stocked, we had already made a lot of effort to better organise the warehouse – we then redoubled our efforts to ensure availability was good throughout the day, not just in the morning. We also ran in-store training sessions on customer service in the evenings. Role plays really helped illustrate what is good and bad service.

Have you seen any trading down as a result of the economic downturn? No, not really. Lewes is a town with a lot of food businesses and there’s a real passion for high-quality food here. Our top-tier ranges like Waitrose Seriously, our menus and more cosmopolitan products do really well here.

What do you make of the British-themed on-the-go products Waitrose is launching? I think it’s a really positive move. It gives us an opportunity to spread the word about our support for farmers. Also, as a nation I think we’re proud to be British and with the Jubilee and the Olympics this year I think people will respond to British marketing.

Are you happy with the 14% annual bonus Waitrose paid out to staff this month? I was ecstatic, overwhelmed. These are turbulent times and so I’m really pleased with what management has done and think we’re well on track for the next two or three years.

And how do you intend to spend your bonus? I plan to pay off some debts and give my fiveyear- old son a few treats.