Sainsbury's clinched the win thanks to a shorter queue and a friendly checkout assistant who chatted to our shopper about the weekend and offered to pack.
Asda fared well, too, but although customer service was good overall, one assistant simply pointed our shopper to the ready meals without speaking and although the checkout assistant was polite, she did not make conversation.
The garlic was out of stock at Tesco's Diss store. The fruit and veg aisles looked low in stock, but staff were busy replenishing. Our shopper noted an assistant called Mark was particularly helpful.
There were plenty of approachable staff who were happy to help around the aisles at Morrisons in Burnham-On-Sea. There was one out of stock, but our shopper did not have to queue and the checkout assistant made polite conversation and offered to pack.
Waitrose's Southsea store also had one out-of-stock. There were no staff available around the alcohol aisles to help our shopper find the wine she wanted, so she had to go to the other side of the store to find an assistant, who then asked another member to locate it.
Winner: Mark Collins, store manager, Sainsbury’s, Aylesbury
How's the new year been for your store? Despite all the difficulties with the weather, we have made a fantastic start to the year. The colleagues made huge efforts to battle the snow and some walked as far as three miles to get here because the buses weren't running. Some dug trenches to help our customers get to and from the store, for which they were very grateful. We saw a strong uplift over Christmas because a lot of shoppers switched to Sainsbury's. They have kept coming back since.
So tell me about the competition in Aylesbury. We have a Morrisons and two Tesco stores nearby. They are all bigger stores and stock a wider range as well as non-food, which we have no space for. We may be the smallest, but we aim to be the best in terms of service and availability and I think we do a good job at it. I regularly visit the stores to see how they operate.
How is the Be Good to Yourself range faring since the revamp? The updated range hit the shelves at the start of the month and has been very well received. We have new packaging and about 20 extra fresh lines as well as improved recipes. The timing was just right because so many customers are looking to get back into healthy eating after overindulging at Christmas.
A lot of customers have switched from branded to own label as part of Switch and Save since the start of the year. The average saving between branded products and our own label is 20% and more customers have started to realise they can save without compromising on quality.
If you could change one thing about your store, what would it be? I would like to see a non-food offer in the store. I think a clothing and home and lifestyle range would fare well here, but the store is only 16,000 sq ft so we do not have enough room at the moment. It is something we are looking into for the future, but we haven't made any firm plans yet.
How do you and your staff socialise outside of work? I am a strong believer in making sure the store is a happy place to work. Therefore we hold lots of social events, where the colleagues decide on what we do, such as quizzes, race nights, summer barbecues and Christmas parties.