Glowing reports from our mystery shopper handed Somerfield a rare victory in the closely fought Top Store contest this week.

It is the first time in two months that the chain has secured the accolade, with a top-notch performance at its store in New Malden, Surrey.

And that was carried off at a store that is relatively undersized for a supermarket, though at 10,500 sq ft it is one of Somerfield's larger outlets. Our shopper could lay his hands on every single item he needed. He raved about the simple, clear layout of the shop, which occupies a bustling high street location.

He didn't need to ask many questions, but when he did, the eager staff walked him over to the products they needed.

Things may only get better for shoppers in New Malden, as store manager Hassi Singardia says the store will be remodelled next year as part of Somerfield's strategic repositioning programme.

Another contender for this week's award was the Morrisons in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, which our mystery shopper reported as being well stocked with pleasing extra features such as a cafe.

At the Waitrose in Horsham, West Sussex, the service was flawless, but our shopper was let down by poor availability. The store is to be refurbished later this month, with emphasis on checkouts, serviced counters, fresh produce, wine and health & beauty sections.