Veteran store manager Andy Savage saw off stiff competition to give Morrisons its first win in the Store Manager of the Year competition since 2009.
Every one of the five store managers delivered a strong performance in this year’s nerve-racking final. But Savage, a 23-year store manager veteran, who has run the 44,000 sq ft Morrisons in Preston Riversway since 2009, “wowed the judges with his energy, can-do attitude, people development skills and attention to detail,” said Adam Leyland, editor of The Grocer.
“These qualities resulted not only in exemplary store standards but a strong financial performance at the store,” Leyland added. Having persuaded head office to invest £5m redeveloping the store this autumn, Savage had also been proactive in ensuring that the layout for his store was right for his shoppers.
Judges also praised his leadership. “He might not agree with everything that has happened in the past at Morrisons but he just gets on with it,” said one judge. “And the growth he’s achieving now is outstanding.”
Speaking to The Grocer after the event, Savage said: “I was quite surprised but I’m really, really pleased. It’s obviously a great thing for me but also for the guys back at the store. It’s a real reflection on the people that I’ve worked with over the last few years and their ability and commitment. So I’m really pleased for them as well.
“As far as career highlights go it’s right up there. I’ve been doing this job a long time and it’s great to get recognition at any point, but this sort of recognition is a one-off. It’s not going to happen again.”
Store manager of the year: how the winner was decided
The five store managers were nominated by their respective supermarkets from winners of the annual Grocer 33 Store of the Week competition. They each made a 10-minute presentation before being grilled for a further 10 minutes by a distinguished panel of judges comprising: Steven Esom, chairman, Product Chain; Paul Foley, founder and managing partner, Foley Retail Consulting; Lorraine Hendle, managing director retail and manufacturing, William Reed; Adam Leyland, editor of The Grocer; Angus Maciver, CEO, McCurrach and Jerry Marwood, MD, AF Blakemore
Winner: 20 June
Winner: 15 August
Tesco, Culverhouse Cross
Winner: 19 December
Winner: 11 July
Winner: 14 March
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Store manager of the year