Q&A with Nick Payne Store manager of the week
What is your competition like? Formidable. We are tucked away inside a large housing estate. There is a large Tesco Extra a quarter of a mile down the road and a Sainsbury's two miles away in the other direction and they've both been refitted recently. However, they have not affected our trade. In fact, since they were refurbished, our customer base has grown. From what I have learnt on the shop floor, their stores are now too big and it takes too long to get around the shops. Plus, longer queue times signal poor service. Time is a precious commodity these days. But we are expanding our trade by consistently offering a quality service and that is down to the great training my staff receive. That is how we are beating the competition. Which products are selling well at the moment? There has been a double-digit increase in sales of fresh foods and produce. Organic fruit and vegetables and our bakery products are also growing, with like-for-like cake sales up 47% on last year. Another area doing well is fish - up 39% on last year. I put this down to customers feeling happier about the freshness and source of our products and voting with their wallets. Many of our shoppers drive straight past Tesco and Sainsbury's just to buy our freshly baked bread and hot pies! If you could change one thing about your store, what would it be? I'd like to double its size to provide a full Market Street offering. However, we are hemmed in by the housing estate so that would be physically impossible. How do you maintain high morale? I'm proud to say this Morrisons store has one of the lowest staff turnovers in the region and, without sounding too sickly, we are like an extended family here because our staff are passionate about availability. It also helps that the staff and the majority of our customers belong to the same local community.
Asda Ballyclare, County Antrim
0- Abandoned packing trolleys were a common sight at this Asda store. One trolley stacked with bread was spotted as far away as the frozen food section. However, staff were smart and polite and the checkout assistant carefully packed our shopper's bags. The required sizes of Schweppes tonic water, pâté and Peperami were not stocked. We visited on 17 August at 8.15am. Our shop lasted one hour and 21 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was three minutes.
morrisons Southend-on-Sea, Essex
0 - This week's winning store was bright and welcoming with an entrance decorated with attractive flower and plant displays. It provided all 33 items on the list and the staff were informative and happy to help. There was strong availability throughout the store and eight of a possible 12 checkouts were open. We visited on 17 August at 10.55am. Our shop lasted one hour and 18 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was five minutes.
sainsbury's Stirling, Stirlingshire
0 - With aisles free of packing trolleys and all 33 items accounted for, this clean Sainsbury's was a contender for store of the week. At the entrance, a large banner boasted more than 7,000 price cuts since January. The staff were chatty and helpful and 11 of 19 checkouts were open, which was sufficient on a quiet Friday morning. We visited on 17 August at 10am. Our shop lasted one hour. Time spent at the checkout was eight minutes.
somerfield Crawley, West Sussex
1 - Our shopper described this store as 'eerily quiet' with the shop floor deserted of staff and customers, although a security guard was posted at the entrance. Only the 250g size of Marmite was stocked and the small French baguettes were sold out. The checkout assistant was charming and seemed to appreciate talking to someone. We visited on 17 August at 12.55pm. Our shop lasted 25 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was three minutes.
tesco Porthmadog, North Wales
1 - Although there were a few pallets dotted around the store, they did not get in our shopper's way. The floor layout was easy to navigate and our shopper, who was visiting North Wales on holiday, was able to find all the items. However, the Flora was sold out. There were no queues at the tills. We visited on 17 August at 7.10pm. Our shop lasted 35 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was two minutes.
waitrose Marlborough, Wiltshire
1 - This modern store in the town centre was well-presented and well-stocked with an attractive fruit and veg section. The store was busy but there were plenty of staff on the shop floor, many of whom were replenishing stock. The own-label malt vinegar was sold out. We visited on 17 August at 2.57pm. Our shop lasted 57 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was five minutes.