Which products are selling well?
Because we only opened on 19 July we are still working out which products shoppers want. Traceability of produce is an important aspect for our customers and we have created wonderful displays of locally produced foods such as teas, pickles, chutneys and meat. Wine is also selling well. Consumers are becoming more conscious of issues such as air miles and carbon labelling so our locally sourced products are looked favourably upon. Although there is already an established butcher in front of our store, he is pleased about our arrival and said Cheadle Hulme lacked any real draw before.
What sets your store apart from the competition?
We have encouraged our new partners to carve out an independent niche in the way we serve and sell. The customer service could not be higher and I am taking initiatives that are individual to this branch. The culture I have tried to establish among this new set of staff is that they don't need permission to make decisions. We have introduced food sampling to introduce customers to our ranges and I have encouraged staff to open products and try them with the shoppers. I also want them to feel that they are able to give their own opinions and recommend other products.
Was head office supportive of this culture?
Absolutely. Everyone from our managing director Mark Price to chairman Charlie Mayfield is positive about the scheme. They see it as a very progressive approach. I have been given the autonomy to push boundaries. When we recruited for non-management positions, we specifically targeted sellers with the right mindset.
How has the strategy affected sales?
We are up 8% on our estimations and the customers are happy. They are an affluent set of people but don't like getting out of bed early. However, the four-wheel-drive mums rush over to the store after the school run.