Amy Sharp Waitrose Newton Mearns Glasgow

Source: Laura Joy Photography

Winner: Waitrose Newton Mearns, Glasgow

Store manager: Amy Sharp

Opened: May 2011

Size: 25,000 sq ft

Market share: 8.8%

Nearest rivals: Asda – 1.9 miles, Sainsbury’s – 2.2 miles, Morrisons – 3.7 miles, Tesco – 4.3 miles

Store data source: Analysis by CACI.

Call the market planning group on 020 7602 6000

Tell us a little bit about your career, and how long you’ve been with Waitrose. I’ve worked for JLP for 18 years, starting at John Lewis, and then spending 15 years at Waitrose. I’ve been a branch manager for about 10 years and at this store for about a year-and-a-half.

What was it like facing a global pandemic shortly after joining the branch? I think in the very beginning none of us knew what we were dealing with. You just had to take every day as it came. One thing about working in retail is that the team are really adaptable to change, and this was turbocharged. I’m proud of how the team responded to the challenge.

Nicola Sturgeon has said masks will be kept on in Scottish stores even after social distancing is scrapped in August. How is the team reacting to the easing of restrictions? If the government said masks could be stopped tomorrow, if some of the team wanted to continue to wear them for a bit longer we would support that. Feeling safe at work is my biggest priority for the team. But I think people are relieved now [with the easing of restrictions] and we’re all really looking forward to getting back to some level of normality.

Our shopper highlighted great availability and customer service. What are your thoughts on the verdict? We’re a partnership and the customer service element shows just how much the team cares about the job they do. That comes across in how they interact with customers and how they feel about coming to work. I think that also comes through in driving availability because the partners are dedicated.

Have there been any big changes in the store recently? We’ve just had LED lighting installed. It uses less energy, so it’s great for corporate social responsibility. We’ve also got more sensors on them so particularly in the back of house areas, when nobody’s there, the lights go off. It’s also a much nicer light, it almost feels like daylight.

Do you have any changes in the pipeline to accommodate online growth? The branch is due to have some work done by October this year – an extension that will enable us to grow our online deliveries. We had three delivery vans when I joined and we’re now at seven, but we’re at a point where we are quite tight for space.

What do you think of the way the JLP business has changed in the past year-and-a-half? I think it’s a really exciting time for retail. I know lots of people will be quite nervous, and we have the added pressures of online shopping to contend with, but we have to make retail relevant. I think the head office transformation, and John Lewis and Waitrose working closer together, will help deliver that.

What do you enjoy the most about your job? I enjoy working with the team in terms of their development, helping them at whatever stage of their career – whether it’s somebody that joins at 16 and seeing them all the way through to maybe going to university. I just love seeing that progression.