Winner: Waitrose Raynes Park, London
Deputy store manager: Tor Alcock
Size: 14,000 sq ft
Market share: 3.8%
Nearest rivals: Sainsbury’s – 1.6 miles, Tesco – 2.0 miles, Morrisons – 2.1 miles, Asda – 3.3 miles
Store data source: Analysis by CACI.
Call the market planning group on 020 7602 6000
Tell us about you and your store? I’ve been in the branch about six years and I’ve always been the deputy branch manager. We’re quite a young branch, only 10 years old. So we’ve got some people that have been here that long and then lots of obviously new partners as well. We’ve got an amazing team, they are all really lovely.
How have you kept up morale in the past year or so? We consider ourselves to be a family and it is important everybody is safe and well. So we made sure we checked in with people and that everybody was doing OK. We have a very good social club and normally would have been to theatres and done lots of different things. But actually, it was just a case of checking in with everybody and keeping communication going.
Do you have any changes planned? We have online customer collection and we’re about to launch with Deliveroo. We have customers that come to our store and customers who never even come in our branch, and we’ve still got to deliver that availability, so that’s always a focus for us. And not just to keep stock on the shelf but to keep people happy.
Are there any new lines you’re excited about? We’ve just launched a new Levantine range. That’s been very popular. We’ve had some focus ranges lately like our Mexican range, and it was National Gin Day last week, so there’s all these little pockets to celebrate with food.
What’s changed in response to the summer weather? We’re quite lucky – we’ve got a front area where we can go quite bold with what we would call our seasonal range, with a focus on outdoor dining. We have the barbecue range and every year there are different types of seasonings and different flavours that come through that. We’re also really fortunate for the really fantastic meat and fish counter which becomes quite vibrant in the summer.
Have you noticed a shift in consumer habits with the start of the Euros? There’s definitely been some beers and barbecues but that’s also driven by the weather. As we’re also starting to lift the lockdown so people can meet indoors and outdoors, there’s the social and entertainment side of food – you notice that as a difference.
John Lewis and Waitrose have announced plans to offer equal maternity and paternity leave. How has the news been received at your store? To be able to work for a company that is thinking so courageously and generously for its partners, I think that’s absolutely lovely.
How do you feel about the appointment of new Waitrose retail director Tina Mitchell? We’ve been extremely fortunate under the leadership of Sharon White, and I just think there is a really clear vision of where the board want us to be and what our purpose is as a business. We are very fortunate to have new ideas and new people come into the business and drive us forward. Last year, so much has gone on and so much was out of our control but we’ve kept really grounded and always with our focus and our vision.