The store was immaculate and staff were happy to help our shopper locate items, all of which were available. Plenty of tills were open, so the queue was short, and the checkout assistant was both efficient and polite.
One out-of-stock item let Morrisons’ Chorlton Cum Hardy branch down. The store was tidy inside, though the exterior was littered. The aisles were free of packing trolleys and a helpful assistant took our shopper to the Marmite.
Sainsbury's in Ipswich also had one out-of-stock item, but our shopper was impressed with the customer service. Staff escorted him to several items and after only a short queue the chatty checkout assistant greeted him and then offered to pack.
Waitrose in Ponteland only opened last month, but it provided a pleasant shop despite two out-of-stock items. Our shopper asked several assistants for help and most escorted him to items. The aisles were clutter-free and there was no queue. Availability disappointed at Asda’s Brighton Marina branch and our shopper was charged £1.60 for the Magnums when the shelf-edge label said £1.88. However, an assistant greeted our shopper at the entrance and staff had a good knowledge of the store layout.
Winner: Robert Winfield, store manager, Tesco Extra, Cumbernauld
Our shopper couldn't fault your store. How do you compete against the nearby Asda? The Asda is a strong operation and it markets itself very well. It is a clean, bright and well-operated store. We compete effectively, though. Our staff are fantastic and our customers are extremely loyal to us. We have a huge non-food offer and the growth in our food sales suggests customers like what we are doing.
How is the sunny weather treating you? The past couple of weeks have been great. Our non-food offer accounts for about 45% of stock and there has been a huge uplift in sales of garden furniture. Fresh fruit and veg sales were slowing down earlier in the year, but in recent weeks as the weather has got warmer customers have been buying more and sales are up 10%.
How is the Discounter range faring? Sales are very strong. The discount brands are as much a part of our customers' everyday shopping trip as the other ranges we offer, such as Finest. They have been particularly successful in the household and cold meats sections. They have really strengthened some categories and have been nothing but a good addition to the business. We will be rolling out more lines throughout the year such as children's and household products.
How is the Clubcard relaunch doing? It was a really successful relaunch and the uptake has been 120% better than forecast. Shoppers can now double up their vouchers in-store, so we had to undergo a lot of staff training in preparation. We all went through a programme on how to communicate it to customers. The staff worked so hard and it is really paying off.
What changes have you made to the business lately? During the past three to four weeks we have made a particular focus on driving down the number of gaps on shelves. In the afternoon we look at what we can do to improve availability before we carry out the scanning process in the evening. My everyday management challenge is to make sure our evening customers get as much of a good deal as customers in the morning in terms of availability.