As My Local recovers from a first-week stock crisis, store managers are now being trusted with the autonomy to make key ranging decisions and drive forward the chain’s community philosophy.

The first week for the new chain was dogged by a stocking crisis which resulted in 50 traders calling 181 suppliers to address the shortfall.

Speaking at the fully-stocked My Local store in New Oxford Street, London, last week, managing director Mike Greene said: “We had one disagreement with Morrisons over stock and suddenly had to find a lot of stock quickly.

“We’ll do some really strong promotions in the next period as we recognise we’ve let some customers down this week.”

He also expressed his confidence in the store managers to help realise his vision for the chain. “Under Morrisons, managers had no idea of whether the stores were making money, they had no access to P&L [profit and loss] statements, but this will change,” he said. “There is far more autonomy now, and every planogram will have managers’ choices.”

Managers will also choose their local charities, which must be within one mile of each store, and they can also recommend local suppliers, although main suppler Nisa will have a trader dedicated to local products.

“Store managers will then pick the local products they want, but they can recommend local suppliers to work with,” Greene said. “I want to keep the disciplines and standards of the managers and add the local element.”

Amy Davies, manager of the New Oxford Street store, told C-Store: “For the first time I can actually be a manager now and add the range I want.”

The original agreement with the former owners was for them to remove only Morrisons-branded items from stores prior to relaunch, but a disagreement over the value of the residual stock meant that branded goods were reclaimed by the multiple grocer as well. As a result, My Local was left with a shortfall equivalent to half a million cases of product.

My Local trading director Neil Turton paid tribute to the management and store teams who have “worked around the clock” to get the stores ready for opening. “Bearing in mind what happened, to get the vast majority of stores open on the Tuesday was a minor miracle,” he told C-Store.

“It has put us behind where we wanted to be, but there have been some positives. For one thing, the challenge has meant store teams were really strongly motivated from day one and, secondly, it means we now have a clean stock file instead of inheriting historic errors that were in Morrisons’ system.”