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Shop Doctor: Jempson's Express & Jet Petrol Station, Peasmarsh, East Sussex

06 October, 2011
Page 12 

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Located on the A268 in the village of Peasmarsh (some three miles north of Rye) is a Jempson's Superstore and Jempson's Express Petrol Station. Jempson's claims its Peasmarsh Superstore is Britain's largest independent food store.

FORECOURT: The location of the Jempson's Superstore is clear but there are no signs to the filling station until you're on the site.Then the modern-looking forecourt becomes apparent.

The pump prices were competitive some 0.5ppl cheaper than local forecourts and a massive 8ppl cheaper than the first filling station on entering Rye from the A268!

Under a vast canopy, there are four islands of pumps all are in good order and are easy to access.

Air, vacuum, jet wash and car wash are available to the side of the forecourt. There is ample parking on the superstore site.

Outside the forecourt shop are displays of compost together with winter fuels, logs and kindling.

SHOP: In its smart corporate style, the shop fascia states 'Jempson's Express', but the designated entrance door is in need of painting. The entrance faces a 'grab and go' sandwick/snack/soft drink display. The shop offers all the basic c-store categories but with some omissions (no ATM) and an interesting addition (the Jempson's Business Centre).

Although my visit was early in the morning, the selection of newspapers was poor. The produce section was small and did not appear to promote the brilliant Jempson's Local Hero initiative.

The Jempson's Business Centre is conveniently located by the hot drinks machine. Business services include internet access, email, fax, phone and photocopying facilities.

The customer toilet is in need of some TLC.

The Jempson's Superstore offers a huge range of special offers (from both Budgens and Nisa) as well as artisan products from 'Local Heroes' but the Express shop didn't seem to and this made for a rather bland shopping experience.

For members of the Jempson's 'Savaclub' all purchases now earn loyalty points.

The opening hours of the forecourt and Jempson's Express are Monday to Saturday 6am to 10pm. It is closed all day Sunday.

PROGNOSIS: Independent since 1935, Jempson's has built a formidable empire in the East Sussex and Kent area with superstores, post offices and cafés. The company runs just the one filling station and shop.

A visit highly recommended or look at their website (www.jempsons.com) will demonstrate that it is a progressive enterprise.

Jempson's communicates well with its customers and it is clear that the two principals Andrew and Stephen Jempson are very much part of the business and readily invite comments from their shoppers. The business has been part of Nisa since 1982.

As for all businesses, the challenge is to maintain and improve performance.

DIAGNOSIS: In many respects, bar one, Jempson's is performing like a major multiple. The area where the comparison falls down is with regards to Sunday openings.

None of the Jempson's retail outlets open on a Sunday.

PRESCRIPTION: The Sunday opening issue should be given urgent consideration even if it's just for the forecourt and shop.

Also the company needs to promote the existence of the forecourt business, its fuel prices and the availability of an ATM along the A268 perimeter of the Peasmarsh superstore.

Add an in-store ATM to the Express store or heavily promote the one outside the superstore to filling station customers.

Look to develop some store theatre in the Express outlet like it has done in the superstore.

The company should also introduce a selected range of promotions from the superstore range and trial a meal deal offer. And it must promote 'Local Heroes'.

Repaint the entrance, exit and toilet doors. Deep clean the toilet area and introduce, display and maintain a cleaning rota.

Bring to the Jempson's Express and Filling Station the same dedication to customer exellence so obvious in the superstore.