Availability problems are costing the top grocery multiples non-food sales, with Safeway in the greatest danger, according to a mystery shopping survey.

A total of 80 shoppers visited outlets operated by the top four multiple chains last month. The performance of sectors such as entertainments, electrical goods and clothing were examined.

Excluding clothing, which Safeway stores do not sell, no multiple had worse overall availability than Safeway, while the best results often came from Morrisons outlets.

Dan Todaro, MD of Gekko Partners, which compiled the research, said: “In terms of availability, Safeway came out bottom or near bottom in most sectors. And where Safeway and Morrisons figures are combined, Safeway brings Morrisons down.”

Shoppers said Asda equalled Safeway on the availability of entertainment products, with half of all stores not having fully stocked shelves.

For more details see The Grocer, August 14, 2004.