Staff were busy stacking and neatening the shelves but were happy to help our shopper find several items. After waiting just 30 seconds in a queue, she was greeted by a checkout assistant who made conversation with her sons and packed her bags.
Waitrose in Edinburgh had a longer queue, but impressed nonetheless. The store was immaculate and although staff were busy unloading packing trolleys, they did not get in our shopper's way. The checkout staff were switching over as she approached the till and apologised for the short delay it caused.
Two abandoned trolleys in the entrance gave Asda in Swansea an untidy appearance. However, our shopper was impressed with an assistant who escorted her to the iceberg lettuce. Plenty of tills were open and the friendly checkout assistant offered to pack.
Our shopper found Morrisons in Diss too crowded and cramped. The store was clean, but the queue was long and there were few staff around to help. The checkout assistant did not greet our shopper, but offered to pack.
One out-of-stock item let Sainsbury's in Kirkintilloch down. Plenty of tills were open, however, and the staff were friendly.
Winner: Malcolm Collins, store manager, Tesco, High Wycombe
Are you all set for bonfire night? We sure are. Our fireworks are on a bogof promotion at the moment and have gone down really well. We had a great Hallowe'en period too. People seem to celebrate it a lot more now than they used to.
What about Christmas? We are busy preparing. We put up the Christmas decorations this week and they look great. We have launched an offer where if shoppers spend £25, they can get certain bottles of spirits for £10. Our large tins of chocolates, such as Cadbury Roses, are on offer for £5 and have been well received. This year we are really focusing on customer service and going that extra mile to help our shoppers. We have a busy time coming up, especially as a lot of them will be taking advantage of the double points that Clubcard 2 offers. We will be open on Boxing Day this year, for the first time.
How is your new Chinese range faring? Really well. A few weeks ago we replaced our Chinese offer with a new range from Ken Hom, which features better recipes and brighter packaging than before. It has proved popular with customers and sales are up 25% to 30% in our store.
What changes have you made to the store since you joined? I have been here for three months and one of the biggest changes I have made is revamping our snacking ranges. A lot of customers do top-up shops here, because we are located in a shopping centre with a cinema and bowling alley nearby. To capitalise on this, I have introduced a pick'n'mix stand and a Krispy Kreme doughnuts range, as well as more sandwiches and nuts.
Are there any more plans for your snacking offer? Yes. We are looking into introducing even more food to go, such as hot chicken and pizzas. I think they would do really well here.
Tell me about the competition in your area. The Sainsbury's has recently been rebuilt and is 68,000 sq ft. When it re-opened at the end of August we saw a slight drop in customer numbers, but many have come back. They like to come to us because we are a smaller unit and it is easier to top up. That's another reason why we are really focusing on customer service.