Our mystery shopper was impressed from the moment that she entered the store. She said that a lot of effort had been made with the merchandising of barbeque products, particularly in non food and fresh meat.
She added that staff on the shop floor were particularly friendly, and all were happy to assist with her queries. There were no packing trolleys to slow her progress, and clear signposting and well-presented shelves made finding everything on her list a doddle.
She spent less than one minute queuing at checkout where she had her goods packed for her.
Our Morrisons shopper also had a positive experience.Staff on the shop floor were helpful and polite, aisles were clear, and layout and presentation were first-rate.
However, some of the fruit and veg had mismatched labelling, while others had no country of origin information. She was also not helped packing her goods.
Our Asda shopper had an unfortunate experience at the checkout - the scales on the conveyor belt broke, meaning that she had to move all of her goods to another till. However the staff handled the situation with great helpfulness and efficiency.
Waitrose's Sheen Road store in Richmond also put in a strong customer service performance.Tell us a little bit about your working history? I have worked for Sainsbury's for 18 years, and joined the Newport store three months ago from Sainsbury's East Filton store, which has also won The Grocer 33's Top Store Award a couple of times.
How have your first three months been? Great, everybody is on a real high thanks to winning this award, and I am delighted to be accepting it on behalf of our manager Paul Abbott who is away on holiday this week. The staff at Newport have also just received their bonuses for hitting our in-store customer service and availability targets, so there is a really fantastic atmosphere at the moment.
What first attracted you to the retail secor?The promise of a fast-paced working environment and ever-changing day to day challenges. So far it has definitely lived up to all my expectations!
What is the best thing about the Newport store? It's got to be our team of staff. We have more than 300 people working at Newport, many of whom have been here for a number of years. There is a real team spirit here and each and every one of our staff takes great pride in the store and works so hard to achieve the impressive results that your mystery shopper experienced this week. The store is 21 years old and we also have an incredibly loyal customer base, which makes delivering the very best service all the more important.
What do you enjoy most about your job? Providing excellent customer service. The satisfaction you get when a customer thanks you for your help or praises the store is very rewarding.
What would you say were the most important qualities for a store manager to have? The ability to lead from the front when it comes to customer service. Our manager Paul certainly does that.
What are your plans for the next 12 months? I have only just joined Newport and am really enjoying my time here, so I certainly have no plans to leave any time soon.David Lincoln accepted our Top Store Award this time last year after just four months managing Waitrose's Hall Green store in Birmingham. Lincoln has since left the Hall Green Store and is on secondment in Edinburgh at Waitrose's new Comely Bank store.
"I have been here for three months now and it has been a phenomenal experience," he said. Lincoln added that the store, which was formally a Somerfield, had been very well-received by the local community. "People are delighted and I am overwhelmed with the support that we have received." He will be spending a few more months at the Comely Bank store before upping sticks again to Morningside, Waitrose's second new Scottish store.Weekly winners since 17 June, 2006