In the end, Asda in Gateshead won by a whisker because there was no queue at the checkout. The store was immaculate and all the staff were very helpful including one who walked the length of the superstore to bring our shopper a forgotten item.
A car park attendant kindly showed our shopper to a paking space at the busy Waitrose in Morningside, Edinburgh. Store staff were friendly too and the shopping experience was further improved by a Cheddar and crackers sampling opportunity. The wine was not on the shelf but an assistant brought it out from the delivery trolley.
Baking potatoes at Tesco in Ashby de la Zouch were the only out-of-stock item this week. As well as gaps in fruit and vegetables, the refrigerated juice section was untidy, with cartons in the wrong place and empty storage boxes all over the shelves. The checkout assistant failed to say hello or make eye contact.
There was a six-and-a-half-minute queue at Morrisons in Swansea but our shopper reported a friendly and efficient store.
Sainsbury's in Stirling also offered great service on the floor but our shopper had to queue at the checkout for slightly longer than at Asda.
Winner: Emma Frostick, deputy store manager, Asda, Gateshead
How does being in the MetroCentre affect shopping patterns? We say this is a destination store because people travel to come here. If any of the retailers in the centre have great offers, it attracts more people to Gateshead and we get more customers.
It also means we're very aware that we need to provide a clean and clutter-free experience whatever time customers shop. Rather than quickly tidying up ready for 5pm, we need to make sure we have sufficient availability 24 hours a day.
How do you keep queue times down? We're one of two stores in the north east taking part in the trial of a new system to predict how many tills are required. It helps recognise how many people come in the store and predicts how many are due to approach the checkout bank.
We get a report every day that shows where we had potentially too many or not enough checkout colleagues. We can then use that as a tool to plan our rotas and have been making daily improvements.
Why is Asda a good company to work for? I really truly love working for Asda. This is the place to be. We're target-driven and we all know where we stand. It's great to work with a set of colleagues who actually reflect the community we're in and have such variety in who we meet and what we do.
What lines are selling well at the moment? We've seen fantastic sales of George clothing with the back-to-school range selling well. Our customers have been enjoying our offers, such as two polo shirts for £2 and others on the general merchandise side such as two-for-£8 on toys. There's a huge demand for Extra Special as well.
How do you keep up good communication with colleagues? There are more than 700 staff at our store, a quarter of whom are full-time. We communicate through huddles and communication boards throughout the store. We also use Everyone Matters TV from Asda House, which links into the store. Everybody strives to communiate every day to ensure everyone understands the key result areas and how their behaviour can influence them.
Grocer 33: Morrisons has most cheapest (21 August 2010)