Morrisons in Tynemouth was the only store to provide a full basket this week, which – with the help of its friendly and efficient staff – netted it our top store award.
There were lots of free parking spaces, the store was immaculate, plenty of tills were open and items were easy to locate. Staff were happy to help, the checkout assistant greeting our shopper and offering to pack his bags.
One out-of-stock item let Asda in Watford down. But the aisles were free of stacking trolleys, there were plenty of staff around and an assistant was happy to look in the store room to find out if there were any more Aunt Bessie’s frozen Yorkshire puddings.
A promotion on organic beef mince led to one out-of-stock item at Sainsbury's in Kirkintilloch. However, our shopper did not have to queue and the items on the list were easy to locate.
There was also an out-of-stock item at Tesco’s Belfast branch. Shelf-stacking trolleys obstructed the aisles and although the checkout assistant made eye contact with our shopper, she did not greet him or say goodbye. Our shopper was unimpressed with the store toilets, which were “dull and depressing”.
Availability disappointed at Waitrose in Buckingham, with two items out of stock. The tomatoes were soft, but an assistant replaced the box with fresher produce when our shopper complained.
Winner: Kelly Heads, duty manager, Morrisons, Tynemouth
What offers do you have on at the moment? We are offering lots of lines for half price, such as fruit and veg and health and beauty items, which are all doing really well. Our shoppers are buying cheaper items but more of them. We have also started offering customers a fruit giveaway, where they receive £4 of fruit for free when they spend more than £40. We will be ordering a lot more fruit than normal this week - the amount we order tomorrow will depend on how much the store sells today.
Tell us about your newly revamped café. It underwent a refurbishment at the start of the year. The menu is the same, but the facilities have been upgraded. We invited 10 local reporters when it opened to see what they thought and were featured in the paper for it.
What percentage of your offer is non-food? Non-food items, which include microwaves, vacuum cleaners, cookware items and smaller electrical items, account for almost 10% of sales. Our cookware range, which includes pots, pans and woks, has been going down particularly well, especially since we started promoting certain lines with a 25% saving.
Who is your biggest competitor? Tesco. It is the closest supermarket and is slightly smaller than our store. A lot of our customers are shopping around more compared with this time last year - some come to us for some things and go to other supermarkets for other items. They are carefully comparing the prices we offer. I also see staff from other supermarkets shopping here, which can only be a good thing.
How do you motivate your staff? A lot of them are motivated by praise and being recognised for doing a good job. The Vision and Values initiative encourages us to work together as a team and everyone seems to be really enjoying it - winning this award is testament to the team's hard work.
How do you and your staff socialise outside work? We usually go out for Christmas and other special occasions. Last month we had a disco and buffet to celebrate the store's 16th anniversary.