steve graham waitrose swaffam

Spring seems to have finally arrived. How has that affected trade? This is an extremely seasonal branch. At peak times, we have a lot of traffic from Londoners who have second homes here. So the weather has been very good for us. We have had a good Easter and the warm weather has helped us grow sales of our BBQ products.

Waitrose is trialling meal suggestions at meat and fish counters. How popular are your counters and would you like to take part in the trial? It’s a complete mix. Some people like using counters and like chatting with the staff, but we are victims of our own success in a way because we do such good pre-packed stuff that some people go straight there. I think there is opportunity to trial meal suggestions but possibly not on the same scale as other metropolitan branches.

Tell us about the upcoming team revamp? As a business, the biggest thing on our horizon is the process of adopting a new operating model to take very much a one-team approach across Waitrose branches. We’ve been doing a lot of work to get ready for the transition by cross-training partners and looking at the hours and days our partners work so they can work in several different areas. We’ve had really positive feedback from most partners, they love coming in and doing something different.

What do you think of the supper club at Waitrose’s new Haywards Heath branch? I’ve only seen the second-hand feedback has been very positive and I think it’s something Waitrose is going to continue doing. If you have the open kitchens in your branch, it’s a logical thing to do to show off your produce. When we sent out wine and cheese specialists to do talks with local groups, we got positive feedback. People tried things they don’t normally try and we saw a spike in sales.

How is your online business going? We do have huge fluctuations over the holiday periods but we also have a fairly loyal customer base of locals. We’re starting to do more postcodes, which will take us up into Lincolnshire because we think that’s a big county with demographics that will have an appetite for Waitrose delivery.

Winner: Waitrose Castle Acre Road, Swaffham

Store manager: Stephen Graham

Size: 26,000 sq ft

Opened: 2004

Market share: 20.7%

Nearest rivals: Tesco - 0.2 miles, Iceland - 0.5 miles, Co-op - 0.7 miles, Asda - 0.8 miles

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