>>Richard lancaster, trading director, Jacksons stores

By his own admission, possibly the hardest thing Richard Lancaster ever did in his career was to sell his six-strong convenience store chain to Jacksons Stores in 1997.
Despite this, it represented his first brush with the independent retailer he would eventually join in November 2000 as trading director.
Before that his jobs included BWS controller, then trading and marketing director at convenience store group Day and Nite Stores.
Since joining Jacksons, he has driven supply chain initiatives designed to improve availability and enable the retailer to compete with the major multiples on pricing. That undoubtedly helped it to win Best Independent Chain of the Year in The Grocer’s Gold Awards a week ago.
One area Lancaster recently worked on is Jacksons’ Macro Space Project, in partnership with convenience specialist SRCG. The initiative follows work on corporate branding and focuses on tightening up store layout and ranging in individual store clusters.
A planogram based on research compiled by SRCG is to be tested in stores in August and September, with results shaping future strategy.
Lancaster says he hopes the project will help “drive and power categories”, adding: “This includes not only physical resource but also pricing, promotions and marketing. Our aim is to make Jacksons truly famous for specific categories.”
Lancaster has worked on similar initiatives for the last two years for the independent chain, which is ranked fifth in The Grocer Top 50.
Giving a flavour of some of the other projects he has been involved with, he says: “We scoped out a chilled automatic ordering system which allowed us to take advantage of Nisa-Today’s six-day Premier chilled delivery service.
“We believe this system to be an industry first, giving greatly enhanced availability with no increase in wastage.
“Chilled food growth is still running at more than 10% in like-for-like stores.”
shaping the supply chain to compete