14 December, 2017

From Saturday girl to Section Manager

Bernie’s first day with M&S was as a Saturday girl in Wood Green. At the time, she believed that it was the only place to be. Some 10 or 15 stores later, she’s been with us for over 24 years, so presumably this is still the place to be. Now a Section Manager at the Cheshunt store, she let us in on some Food Hall secrets.

“The first thing I start with each day is the section takings,” she says. “So at 5am I’m checking to see if any of those areas need to be looked at. Next, I’ll allocate some of the team to do a date-check on the fridges and fill them. Then I’ll walk the hall with my second-in-command to make sure any risk areas we’ve highlighted have been addressed.”

Bernie works with the Operations team to make sure that stock gets to the right place on the sales floor. She’ll also help her own team with ‘packet perfect presentation’ and clear any clutter so that the floor looks tidy and inviting for early-door customers.

“Later on, I’ll take team members on a section walk with me so that they can see what the customer sees. During the last half of my shift we’ll do standards checks, pulling stock forward ready for filling, date checks and top-ups. It takes a lot of work to make the fridges look so good all the time!”

A Section Manager’s role also involves finding time for coaching, training and development. Then there’s a management meeting every day at which Bernie and her colleagues examine food safety findings, performance scores and – always at the top of the list – service.

Having been a Duty Manager and a Store Manager, Bernie took on a Section Manager role which was better suited to her family commitments. She appreciates the work/life balance that gives her, and also pitches in to make her team’s lives easier. “I wouldn’t ask them to do anything I wouldn’t do myself,” she says. “You’ll find me on the sales floor filling fridges alongside them if that’s what’s needed.”

Bernie’s loyalty is clearly returned. “They delivered an excellent Christmas last year. Some of them volunteered to work through the night in December so that the day teams could keep the shelves stocked for customers.”

We asked Bernie if she had any words of advice for potential new joiners. “Just give it a go. You won’t know what it’s like unless you try it.”

Great Section Managers feel at home at M&S. To find out more and apply, click here.

Inside M&S