We are delighted to welcome M&S to Rochdale Riverside. Can you tell us a little about what we can expect to see from the new store?
M&S has served customers in the local area for generations and my colleagues and I are really excited about this new store here at Rochdale Riverside.
Many of our customers who we know from the previous store will notice a big difference once things start to get back to normal. This store is considerably bigger than our last one and we look forward to inviting everybody to explore the whole of our new ‘home’ in the fulness of time. At the moment all our efforts are focused on ensuring our customers have access to essentials they need from the store’s new Foodhall.
How long have you been a part of the M&S family? Did you join as a store manager?
I have worked at M&S for just over 11 years now after joining the business whilst I was a student – originally I worked part time over the weekends in the café at Preston Deepdale. I had no intention of joining retail initially but fell in love with the business and its values, so after graduating I decided to join the trainee management scheme and the rest is history. I’ve had several food and store manager roles over the last eight years but joining the Rochdale team has given me my first opportunity with a store opening, with our beautiful new Riverside store.
What is being done differently in M&S stores now due to COVID-19?
We’re all working together to help keep communities going, ensuring appropriate social distancing measures are in place for people feel safe whilst shopping with us for food and essentials.
We’re reserving the first hour of trading on Tuesdays and Fridays for NHS and emergency service workers, and health and social care workers, and are reserving the first hour of trading on Mondays and Thursdays for vulnerable and older customers (70+).
For volunteer shoppers and care givers we also now have an #Allithistogether E-gift card. The credit can be topped up online, meaning a much safer and easier payment process for the everyday heroes who are buying essential items for elderly and vulnerable people unable to come into our store themselves.
Will your customers benefit from the facilities in the new location?
Once things are starting to get back to normal, we will be updating the local community on all our wider facilities and products. For now, we’re doing what we can to ensure all of our colleagues and customers feel safe in-store. At Rochdale Riverside there’s plenty of parking so customers will be able to pick-up their essentials easily.
What is your favourite item in store at the moment?
At the moment, it would have to be the M&S fresh fruit and vegetables in our Fresh Market Specials, which includes a wide variety of tasty fresh produce for 65p.
Due to there being different fruit and veg included in the specials, it is encouraging me to vary what I buy and inspiring me to try different recipes. I’ve been mixing up my salads by introducing mango slices on warmer days for extra freshness and have tried different variations of avocado on toast.
We’ve also recently launched a new £5 Cook With M&S cookbook which has 50 fast, fresh and easy recipes. The cookbook has been providing added inspiration for delicious meals in minutes and has got me out of a cooking rut – I hate to admit that I was cooking the same handful of midweek dishes on rotation! One of my favourite recipes so far has to be the Mini Pitta Pizzas, using our bright and flavoursome Cook With M&S Red Pepper Paste (£1.50, 190g).
Where can people keep up to date with the latest information from M&S?
We have set up a store Facebook page which can be found here which we’ll be updating frequently with news and information from the team.
For more information on how M&S is supporting its customers, communities and colleagues during this time, please visit: www.marksandspencer.com/allinthistogether