The UK's leading supermarkets have stepped up their game to keep shoppers spending. Queues are shorter, shelves are fuller and basket prices are cheaper, The Grocer 33 six-month review has revealed.

The Grocer 33, the only independent price, service and availability monitor across the leading supermarket chains, revealed, once again, that in the past six months, Asda was the cheapest. Its average basket price was £1.54 a week cheaper than second-placed Tesco, which booted Morrisons back into third.

An Asda shopper would have saved a total of £43.12 in the six-month period compared with Tesco.

But all the country's major supermarkets had a lower weekly basket price year-on-year, with the average weekly Grocer 33 spend falling from £57.87 in the second half of 2008 to £55.18 now putting £75 back in shoppers' pockets.

Asda also scored a coup on service: this time last year it languished in fourth place, but it is now ahead with eight Top Store victories. Asda chief operating officer Andy Clarke put the improvement down to increased investment.

"While we're famous for offering Britain's best-priced weekly shop, we also offer fantastic service in all our stores and we're thrilled it has been recognised," he said.

"This year we've invested a huge amount in driving service and availability in our stores across the UK. At Christmas alone we've ploughed £3m into providing a better service experience for our customers."

Every retailer improved queue times except Tesco, whose performance was marred by a few extremely lengthy waits. Waitrose was the runaway winner in this area, with an average time at checkout of five minutes and 10 seconds a full one minute and 16 seconds a week less than fifth-placed Tesco. So far this year, Waitrose shoppers have spent over 35 minutes less time queuing than Tesco customers.

Read more:
Grocer 33: Six-month review - Asda in the lead for price and service (19 December 2009)