Kathryn Neil - Waitrose Westfield London

Duty manager: Kathryn Neil
Store: Waitrose Westfield London
Opened: 2008
Size: 31,000 sq ft
Market share: 6.4%
Population: 1,839,076
Grocery spend: £48,239,239.13
Spend by household: £62.36
Competitors: 447
Nearest rivals: Aldi 2.3 miles, Asda 2.5 miles, Co-op 0.3 miles, Iceland 1.1 miles, Lidl 0.3 miles, Morrisons 2.2 miles, Sainsbury’s 0.1 miles, Tesco 0.2 miles, Waitrose 0.9 miles

Source: CACI. For more info visit www.caci.co.uk/contact. Notes: Shopper profiling is measured using Grocery Acorn shopper segmentation. Store catchment data (market share, population, expenditure, spend by household, competition) is within a five-mile radius.
For CACI’s shopper segmentation of the other stores we visited this week see the online report at www.thegrocer.co.uk/stores/the-grocer-33

Tell me about your career in retail? This award comes alongside the six-year anniversary of me joining Waitrose, and two years since I started in the branch. I joined the partnership in head office roles, and this is my first branch role. Prior to that I spent 15 years at Tesco in a variety of roles, starting on the checkout when I was 16. Being branch manager at Westfield is by far the favourite role I’ve done in my career.

Tell us about your customers and the store: It’s a very central location with an interesting customer base. Our customers are food lovers, they like to know they can get good quality products. A big mission for us is dinner for tonight. Being on a commuter route, the MyWaitrose scheme – with its offer of a free coffee – is also really popular for us. Westfield has a real family feel to it – we’ve got partners that have been with us since the day the shop opened 15 years ago. It really is a nice shop to work in and a pleasure to lead.

How busy was your Christmas? Christmas is massive for us, obviously. Being in the Westfield shopping centre, it’s a really big time of year. It’ll start picking up from Black Friday and then it carries on all the way through. The shop was closed on New Year’s Day, but we opened for on-demand grocery – Deliveroo and Uber Eats are really popular for us.

What were the most popular products? The Florentine Panettone and the party food range were big hits this year.

What have been some of the most significant changes in store over the past year? The launch of on-demand service with Uber Eats has been massive for us. In addition to our tie-up with Deliveroo, it’s certainly brought us new customers, and we’re seeing people who wouldn’t traditionally shop with us now do so through those services. There’s a real mix of what they’re ordering – some people see it as a convenient way to do a full shop, but others will use it for dinner tonight, especially if the weather is bad.

January can be a challenging time as stores transition from Christmas – how have you managed it? As with anything in our role, it’s about planning and resilience to any challenge that is thrown up on a day-to-day basis. Practically, how we schedule people matters – but people have to show up and bring the energy to be able to deliver. Unless you’ve worked in retail, it’s hard to understand the effort and work that goes into the reset between Christmas and January. It often happens behind the scenes and people don’t realise the time and energy required to be able to reset after such a busy period. And I have to give credit to the teams. The night team especially have played such a pivotal role at peak with the energy they’ve shown. I’m really proud of how the team have responded this year. The time of year that we’ve won this award is testament to the fact that we’ve handled it well.

What are your priorities now Christmas is behind us? As always, delivering great service for our customers every day is our bread and butter. It’s what we get up in the morning for and it’s what we really pride ourselves on as partners – both the quality of service and the availability we can give our customers every day.