Who we visited

costcutter Marlborough, Wiltshire

LONDIS Wandsworth, London

sainsbury's local Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire

scotmid Uphall, West Lothian

tesco express Hazel Grove, Greater Manchester

How they performed

'Compact but clean' was how our shopper described the Costcutter at St Margarets Mead in the Wiltshire market town of Marlborough. While it wasn't the biggest convenience store in town, it was neatly presented and logically laid out. Some shelf stacking was taking place and a packing trolley blocked one aisle, but staff were pleasant and helpful.

Our Wandsworth shopper was cheerfully greeted by the checkout staff as she entered the Londis on Trinity Road in Wandsworth, London. One assistant was restocking the fridges from a few boxes on the floor but he smiled at our shopper and moved out of her path. Only the tea bags were out of stock.

The combination of high shelves and low ceiling gave the Sainsbury's Local in the village of Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire, a claustrophobic atmosphere. The Tetley tea bags were not stocked but the other items were quickly found and the shelves were well stocked. The biggest problem this store had was its overly chatty checkout assistant. Our shopper had to wait for nearly five minutes while she questioned the customer in front about his similarity to shadow home secretary David Davis!

The Scotmid shop on Uphall's main street in West Lothian was found to be bright, clean and welcoming. Staff were courteous and everything on the shopping list was found without difficulty.

Customer service was fantastic at the Tesco Express on Macclesfield Road in Hazel Grove near Stockport. Staff were professional and fast working and availability was excellent. On-shelf pricing was clear and accurate and the aisles were spotlessly clean. This was a well-managed shop with efficient staff.