Asda's 53,000 sq ft Ashton store, the winner of this week's Top Store Award, had just benefited from a festive facelift when our shopper visited on the Friday before New Year's Eve. Work had been carried out to increase space in the store's fresh and chilled sections, which our shopper said enabled him to move about with ease and speed.

Visibility had also been improved and attention drawn to a tempting array of special offers and promotions, of which he was glad to take advantage.

All 33 items were being stocked by the busy store, which also benefited from an excellent Christmas trading period, according to manager Ann Plenderleith who has held the reins for the past 11 months.

The store also provided first-rate levels of customer service, a fact that thrilled but did not come as much of a surprise to Plenderleith, as she explained that it was also a Store of Learning, where budding Asda managers come to train.

Our shopper described staff as "extremely helpful" when asked for assistance, and added that all were happy to take him directly to products he could not find.

All 28 checkouts were in operation. However our shopper still spent five minutes queuing as it was incredibly busy, a fact that did not dampen the friendly assistant's spirits in the slightest. All of his goods were packed without him having to ask, and there were no errors on the receipt.