The store was immaculate, shelves were brimming with stock and the aisles were free of replenishing trolleys. Our shopper was also impressed with the polite checkout assistant who greeted him and then offered to pack.
Although Morrisons in Milton Keynes boasted strong availability too, staff seemed reluctant to help our shopper. However, all the tills were open and the checkout assistant made polite conversation.
At Waitrose in Stroud, a polite assistant directed our shopper to a shorter queue and the checkout assistant was friendly. But it was let down by an out-of-stock item and mess: several abandoned trolleys cluttered the aisles and the floor needed a good steam clean.
There were two out-of-stocks at Tesco in Handforth and our shopper was at the checkout for 19 minutes. Staff were busy replenishing shelves but still helped our shopper find several items.
Availability disappointed at Asda in Wigan but the store was clean and staff escorted our shopper to several aisles. Plenty of tills were open and the checkout assistant was polite.
Winner: Chris Otter, deputy store manager, Sainsbury's, Brighton
Your store coped well over the busy Easter period - how did you manage it? Yes - there was, naturally, an increase in trade over the weekend and we sold most of the eggs by Easter. The customer feedback session in-store before Easter really helped us - we invited some regular shoppers to the store to hear their comments on our customer service, availability, ease of shop, colleague interaction, and cleanliness and hygiene. We received some really positive feedback and are now focusing on looking through the eye of the customer in everything we do by walking through the store twice a day and communicating with department heads on any issues that arise.
How is the Basics range faring in your store? Really well - the Switch and Save campaign has really helped. As Brighton has a large student population, I want to heavily promote our Basics range and we are also looking to increase the amount of frozen lines we offer.
What about non-food? Will you be expanding your offer? We don't sell that much non-food at the moment - seven of our 24 aisles account for it and include newspapers, magazines, CDs, books, seasonal and personal care products. However we are reviewing our range within the next few months and are looking with our space team to start stocking a small range of electrical items such as toasters and kettles in probably an eight to 12 sq ft display. I would like a bigger non-food offer as it would be a great opportunity for the store to sell small ranges of games consoles, televisions and other electrical items, too.
Any new features or expansion planned? We had a new shop porch put on the front entrance eight weeks ago. It has a double entrance, as before, but now we have an extra ramp for disabled shoppers to improve the access to the store.
Are there any staff get-togethers coming up? Next month we are all going bowling, which should be fun. We often have days and nights out such as theatre trips, drinks and meals.