This week's service award was tightly fought, with Morrisons and Asda both providing a full basket, excellent customer service and a neat and tidy store.

Staff at Asda in Benton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, cheerfully offered to help our shopper, with most insisting on taking him to the product he was looking for and asking if he needed help with anything else. The in-store displays felt fresh and modern.

Morrisons in Anniesland, Glasgow, also had friendly and helpful staff but just lost out on the top spot because our shopper had to queue to pay, while there was no queue at the Asda store.

It was a different story at Tesco in Mansfield, where our shopper had to queue for seven minutes to pay. The shop was also let down by online pickers blocking the aisles with as many as four in one aisle at a time. Tesco's carpark was also cluttered with abandoned trolleys as the trolley return area was a long way from the store entrance. Our shopper also found there were not enough child and parent spaces. The Highland Spring was out of stock in the size we wanted and the shredless marmalade was not stocked.

Our shopper at Waitrose in Kenilworth was impressed by the polite assistant who escorted her to the fish pie, showed her the standard and premium options and asked if she wanted any more help. However, the lean minced beef was out of stock and the naan bread and Dove Burst were not stocked at the store. The checkout queue was short but the cashier failed to offer a bag for life or help with packing.

The cashier at Sainsbury's, Dunstable, was very friendly and won praise from our shopper for noticing a small hole in her ice cream container. The fruit and vegetables were running low on stock but a member of staff went to the store room to fetch the Maris Pipers potatoes. But queues were long and the Colgate toothpaste was out-of-stock.

Store of the week - Asda, Benton

What's changed recently in store? We tore down a disused garden centre at the side of our car park to add more spaces, which has also improved access to the store. The petrol station re-opened unmanned in February, which initially caused a few grumblings from customers because they weren't used to it, but we've made sure there's a colleague in the forecourt to help with any queries. We have seen a 4% year-on-year sales uplift in petrol as it allows us to offer fuel 24 hours a day.

How are you involved with the local community? We've really gone for events this year, with the introduction of a community colleague role. We've held events like cricket with local schools and have also promoted fresh food. We're helping a local college to organise a fashion show and are giving clothes away for it. We also give our foyer over to groups that want to raise awareness of certain issues, which has included fire officers promoting safety. We shouldn't just be a supermarket; we have got to be the biggest corner shop in the area.

What about charity fundraising? We've just been highlighted as the most successful store for fundraising in the north east, having raised £4,500 for Tickled Pink over six weeks. A good thing about this is that it brings a bit of fun back to retail, with activities including colleagues getting their legs waxed in the foyer, sponsored bike rides and tombolas.

How do you measure good customer service? Like all retailers, we have a mystery shopper programme to evaluate service from colleagues, the counters area, deli and pharmacy. This year the managers are being measured too, and the shoppers are asking them exactly the same questions as other colleagues. A lot of it is about interaction with the customer as you take them to a product. There's a danger you can become robotic if you answer a certain amount of questions every day.

What have you got in for Hallowe'en? General merchandise landed on Saturday, with sales up 28% on the previous year. We've got a big mechanical witch this year, which is proving very popular. She giggles and moves around on her broomstick when you walk past her. This is one of the things we have learned from Walmart America does Hallowe'en in a big way and we've been able to buy into that.

How has the new own-label range been received so far? The early indication from bakery products such as doughnuts, cupcakes and muffins is that it is going to be great for us.

Garry Hindhaugh, manager of Asda, Benton, was talking to Elinor Zuke