Our shopper noted the Starbucks and Timpson concessions as well as an array of fresh counters and salad bar, and only the olives were out of stock.
Tesco in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, also performed well, with 32 of the items available. The assistants were helpful and told our shopper white grapefruit were unavailable because they were out of season. However small pieces of litter in the aisles slightly marred the overall impression.
At Morrisons in Sutton, Surrey, our shopper praised the helpful staff and tidy store. However the stuffed green olives and Mr Muscle were not stocked, and the baguette was out of stock. The shopper also thought a total of two out of 18 checkouts open was inadequate for the volume of customers.
Blocked aisles were a problem for Waitrose in Colchester. Although this newly opened store was clean and fresh, the shopper found it difficult to get past all the packing trolleys.
Dozens of multibuys and price cuts at Asda in Stockport led our shopper to conclude that "Asda looks determined at the moment". He liked the large underground car park but thought the store looked a little dated. The staff were polite and helpful, though.
Winner: Steve Bumby, store manager of Sainsbury’s, Nottingham
How important is Hallowe'en? Hallowe'en is growing and it has now become a big event. We've got pumpkins, dressing up, novelties and toffee apples. This is now something that customers expect, and they can come into the store and buy everything they need for the night at good prices. It is certainly not in the same league as Christmas or Easter, but it is growing.
What benefits do your Starbucks and Timpson concessions bring to your stores? The Starbucks is the company's top-performing Sainsbury's concession in the country. It attracts business people who use it as a meeting point. It also draws in footfall. Timpson has just been refurbished so that's very popular too.
What are the demographics of your store? We are located in the city centre so have a very diverse customer base that includes a large student population.
Have you made any recent improvements to the store? It has recently been refreshed with new equipment and new shelving, which has given it a brighter, cleaner feel.
How do you train and motivate your staff? We've spent a lot of time with colleagues driving good customer service in the store. We've invested a lot of time in upskilling the colleagues. We recognise that through internal recognition, which is through the presentation of shining stars and externally through a corporate bonus initiative.
Who are your main rivals? We have two main rivals, Asda and Morrisons. (The nearest Tesco is an Express store rather than a full-scale supermarket.) Both are good retailers, but I think we do better than them on our range of products. We have a good Tu range, a good general merchandise range, quality fresh foods, good counters and bakery, and very good customer service.
How is the new scheme where customers are given vouchers at the till going? We haven't got it yet, but when it is rolled out it will mean we can start to look at customers, what their habits are and then give them vouchers to encourage them to trade into other areas or try new products, so it is a very good mechanic to help the customers spend in areas where they are not spending.
What do you do for the local community? We are a community store and we support local charities including Age Concern and the Rainbow Trust (which supports children with serious illness). Some members of the team even did a parachute jump to raise money though I was on holiday that week!