Sainsbury’s in Gateshead netted this week’s top store award, despite being the fourth-most-suited retailer to the area. Not only did the store provide a full basket, but staff were helpful, even when busy stacking shelves. Eleven of 25 tills were open.

Halifax’s Asda presented a clean and well-stocked store, although packing trolleys were disrupting some aisles. Four of our items were on promotion. Most staff proved helpful and efficient around the branch. However, although there were plenty of tills open, the checkout staff were a bit brusque.

Our Morrisons shopper was impressed with the facilities at Morrisons’ High Wycombe store, which included a cafe, toilets, dry cleaning, recycling centre and petrol station. The branch boasted full shelves, with six of our items on promotion and plenty of choice at the deli, meat and fish counters. Queues at the tills were long, but the staff were polite and neat.

Tesco in Warwick was clean and tidy, with polite checkout staff who offered to pack. However, our customer was unimpressed with two shelf stackers having a loud social conversation across an aisle. Although five of our items were on promotion, two of them were out of stock. Waitrose in Romsey was brimming with offers dotted around the store. Our customer praised the Community Matters Scheme as well as the efficient and polite staff.

Winner: Sandra Marshall, Duty Manager, Sainsbury's, Gateshead

What product is selling particularly well at the moment?
Our Basics range, especially since the credit crunch.  The range has more than 500 products in store and our fresh fruit and veg are doing really well.  We have lots of price reduction promotions on our Basics fresh produce including satsumas, melons, salad potatoes and bananas.

How do you and your staff socialise outside work?
We have a sports and social comittee that discusses with colleagues what subsidised social events we do.  We regularly go out together and recently went to Flamingo Land theme park and zoo.  We also have regional meetings with 16 other stores and we all went to Alnwick Gardens this summer, where we held a duck race.  More than £21.500 was raised for Grace House Hospice, a local children's charity.

How is your store contributing to improving the environment?
By encouraging customers and colleagues to recycle more.  We have a popular mobile phone and battery recycling facility at our customer service desk and there are recycling bins in the car park, too.  We encourage customers to use bags for life and to bring back their own bags by giving them Nectar points.

How do you manage availability?
We check all our lines every day and liaise with our forecasting team to ensure we have sufficient stock.

What is the most recent and effective piece of technology you have introduced?
We had a buzzer that makes a klaxon sound installed about a year ago.  It sounds every time a new delivery arrives.  Our back doors are always manned anyway, but the buzzer helps us to prepare for receiving the delivery more quickly, which makes the process more efficient.

Do you have an online service?
No we don't.  The store is not big enough and we don't have the space or the facilities.  However, we are doing a survey to see what customers want and any changes they think need making to the branch.  They can write their suggestions on a form available inside the store, and leave them for us to consider.