Tesco in Macclesfield boasted similarly strong availability, with only the Anchor Aerosol Cream Light not stocked, but the service was less impressive. One member of staff refused to help our shopper, redirecting him to customer services instead, and a "gaggle" of home shopping pickers were blocking the aisles.
At Sainsbury's in Apsley Mills, the Anchor Butter was out of stock, but shelves were otherwise full. Our shopper enjoyed taking part in a Lindt chocolate sampling and praised the attitude of the staff.
Yeovil Morrisons failed to impress. Our shopper described staff as "glum and fraught" and availability was poor. The pain au chocolat, Robinson's Fruit & Barley Pink Grapefruit and steak pie were out of stock, and the Hovis Best of Both was not stocked.
Asda in Hollingbury, Brighton gave a disappointing performance. The store was untidy and when our shopper asked a group of young male staff for help finding the pears, none of them could help. The pears, along with the Anchor Aerosol, lasagne verdi and savoy cabbage were out of stock, while the Bournville dark chocolate and the new potatoes were not stocked.
Winner: Mike Snowdon, branch manager, Waitrose, Cheltenham
How did Heston's Tagliata recipe, televised last Thursday, impact on bank holiday sales? Sirloin steak sales increased by more than 900%, rump steak by more than 550% and rocket by more than 700%. Each weekend we see a surge in demand for the ingredients that were featured the Thursday before.
Sales uptake seems to keep growing with every new tip, recipe card and advertisement fronted by Delia and Heston. It's incredible to witness.
What other categories topped the sales tables over the weekend? The mixed weather meant there were fewer barbecue-related purchases than we had predicted, but we did see better sales in our home section as people looked for a (dry) day out. Wine sales were also exceptionally strong with sales up 20%, boosted by our Mediterranean Wines Showcase, which had been running for a fortnight.
Have you introduced any new products recently? We started selling ostrich eggs from a breed called South African Blacks about three weeks ago. They are presented like an individual Easter egg, priced at £18.99 each. The price isn't proving prohibitive and curiosity is really starting to spread.
How much freedom do you have from head office? Managers have plenty of scope to put their own stamp on a branch. We're actively encouraged to motivate the team with our own individual incentives, which helps each store develop its own personality.
What would you most like to change about the store? Our café reports the strongest sales of any Waitrose café in the UK, but we've become a victim of our own success and we would really benefit from an expansion to cope with the demand. Sales are 20% higher than you'd expect for a store such as ours and it's already a destination in its own right which suggests there is scope to increase sales further.
Did you have any MP visits ahead of this week's election? No. We made sure we didn't align ourselves with any political party. I know other supermarkets held surgeries for MPs canvassing in their areas, but it's something Waitrose purposefully distanced itself from throughout the entire campaign.