Sainsbury's Salisbury branch in Wiltshire is flanked by bigger retailers who are better suited to the city, but its welcoming staff are fast winning plaudits, including this week's Top Store award. The standard of customer service at the 20,000 sq ft store was excellent, according to our shopper. One assistant asked her if she needed helping finding items and the checkout operator was friendly, packed her bags and wished her a good weekend. Even though it was busy, queues were small and the store was the only one to offer all 33 items on the list. CACI data indicates that Sainsbury's is only the fourth-best suited retailer to the Salisbury area, while the nearby Tesco Extra is the most compatible. But although store manager Paul Jones respects his rivals, he clearly is not fazed by them as our mystery shopper was not the first to have praised customer service at the store. "The local Tesco is huge with a massive range of stock and we also share the town centre with a Waitrose, which has a reputation for high-quality fresh produce," said Jones. "However, at 22 years old, this branch is the oldest and most established in town. Another strength is our fantastic service. In our previous mystery shopping survey, carried out by head office, we received 96.5% for customer service - the highest in the Sainsbury's national estate and well above the pass rate of 80%."

Q&A with Paul Jones Store manager of the week

The competition sounds fierce. Any other retailers moving to Salisbury? There is a huge site up for grabs in Amesbury, 10 miles from here. Tesco and Asda are fighting it out at the moment for the site. Tesco wants to build a distribution depot and Asda wants to develop a new store. Locals would prefer the store and if that happens I will want a bigger store myself. If you got permission to expand, what would you do with the space? I would make our fresh produce and fresh foods section bigger to better compete against Waitrose. To target Tesco's shoppers, I would also expand our clothing and general merchandise ranges. We had a revamp three years ago and reduced our food offering to make space for clothing and general merchandise. But we could devote more space to these areas as they are so popular. Has Jamie's 'Feed your family for a fiver' campaign had much of an impact on sales? Every time there is a new Jamie ad we notice a big pick up in sales. For the meatball recipe currently on TV, we provided colleagues with free coupons to buy the ingredients to make the meal at home. Then they tell shoppers all about it the next day. Does your store have an online service? Yes. We introduced online deliveries last September and our two delivery vans are very busy. They operate within a 20-mile radius of the store, which suits local residents as they are reasonably wealthy and short of time. Doesn't having pickers make the aisles more congested? No, because we are fortunate enough to have a large 'back up' area upstairs to hold all the stock. It used to be a meat preparation area but we have converted the space so our online operators can pick up most of the orders without getting in the way on the shopfloor. Obviously, some items need to be picked downstairs but they are collected in the morning when the store is quiet.



Asda Kennedy Way, Belfast

0 - As well as noting scraps of cardboard littering some aisles, our shopper was dismayed by the level of customer service. Though one floor assistant kindly escorted him to the location of a missing item, another staff member was rude to our shopper after he was spotted noting prices down. Five of the items were not stocked. We visited on 4 April at 9.40am. Our shop lasted one hour and seven minutes. Time spent at the checkout was two minutes.

morrisons Bishopbriggs, Glasgow

0 - The aisles were clean and free of packing trolleys. Although there were no obvious gaps on the shelves, the McVitie's Jamaican ginger cake was not stocked. The checkout staff were pleasant, as were the floor staff, and queues were being processed quickly. Promotional offers also were well signposted. We visited on 4 April at 10.03am. Our shop lasted one hour and 10 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was four minutes.

sainsbury's Salisbury, Wiltshire

0 - Customer service was excellent. A member of staff was walking around with a dust pan and brush tidying up and the checkout operator greeted our shopper, packed her bags and wished her a good weekend. A full basket was provided and 11 of the 14 checkouts were open, which was sufficient for the volume of shoppers. We visited on 4 April at 2.14pm. Our shop lasted 44 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was two minutes and 45 seconds.

somerfield Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire

2 - This store had only recently been refitted so the aisles and fixtures were clean and tidy. The store is small and only stocked a limited range of products, and five items were not stocked. The spring onions and Paxo stuffing were sold out. Staff were helpful and the displays of bakery and fresh produce were attractive. We visited on 4 April at 3.25pm. Our shop lasted 35 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was three minutes.

tesco Bradley Stoke, Bristol

2 - This Tesco was in the process of being demolished as a new site was under construction across the road. However, our shopper said there was little disruption even though a section of the car park had been cordoned off for the builders. The avocado and double cream had sold out, but staff were friendly and helpful. We visited on 4 April at 11.05am. Our shop lasted 54 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was two minutes.

waitrose Wilmslow, Cheshire

1 - Supplies of own-label pasta failed to reach Waitrose stores across the country last week and this branch had no dried spaghetti. The required sizes of pork chops and ice cream were not stocked, but the checkout assistant and bakery staff were really helpful. We visited on 4 April at 10.35am. Our shop lasted one hour and 10 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was six minutes.