No fewer than four members of staff helped our shopper locate his items in this clean and tidy store. An adequate number of tills were open and queues were short, demonstrating that the store's new queuing technology was working effectively.
Asda in Gateshead also provided a full basket, plenty of tills were open and the store looked clean. However, although being undercharged didn't upset our shopper, he noted that the Jaffa Cakes were not scanned and did not appear on the receipt. He also spotted a group of five staff members gossiping in an aisle rather than working.
There were no queues at Waitrose in Richmond and the checkout assistant was polite and helpful, allowing our shopper to leave her goods in the store while she popped out for 20 minutes. However two items were out of stock. Sainsbury's in Ipswich was also let down by availability. The store was clean and tidy, though, and the checkout assistant offered to pack our shopper's bags.
Availability was even worse at Tesco's Stirling branch, with four out-of-stock items. In the second undercharging incident of the week, our shopper was not charged for the Evian. However, staff were friendly and helpful.
Winner: Kenny Steele, store manager, Morrisons, Denton
What Christmas offers are you running?
We have new promotions on alcohol, where wine is half price and multipacks of beer are two for £16. Confectionery selection boxes are also on bogof. There are also some great deals on our Market Street and fresh ranges, such as Christmas cheeses.
How effective is the new queuing technology?
It's going down brilliantly and is usually spot on. It counts customers as they enter the store and works out how many tills we need open now, in 15 minutes and in half an hour to keep queuing times to a minimum. It takes a few weeks to collate and it works more accurately the longer it runs. We are planning to open four self-service checkouts in January, too, which will be welcomed as we get a lot of customers coming in just to buy a few items.
What expansion plans for 2009?
We are expanding our home and leisure offer and updating the grocery and toiletries departments. We are also getting a tech bar for the first time, which will sell hi-tech products including iPods and sat navs, which I am particularly looking forward to.
What is the best initiative that has been introduced to the store?
Our MDI scheme, under which staff can put themselves forward for training that will help them become a manager in the future. It gives them a better chance of becoming a department manager when a post comes up. Lots of staff have signed themselves on to the scheme since we opened in 2004 and now more than 50% of our staff have joined, which is really motivating.
How does your store plan to celebrate Christmas?
Our Christmas party is taking place this week and it has a glamorous Hollywood theme. It is a black tie event and the staff are really looking forward to it. The store has a social committee that also organises quiz nights and other events.
Who is your nearest competitor?
Sainsbury's in Denton. It is of a similar size to ours, but it has a larger non-food offer and more facilities, including a pharmacy and dry-cleaning service. We also have several more Morrisons stores close by, as well as an Asda, but we manage to compete with them all well.