This week's Top Store is Morrisons in the West Lothian town of Livingston - for the second time in less than two years. Standards have not slipped at the 40,000 sq ft store since it last graced these pages in December 2006. It has triumphed thanks to a full basket of goods, friendly and efficient checkout staff and clean and logical store layout. Our shopper was also happy that there were plenty of staff on hand to help. It was arguably helped this time around by the changing nature of the local demographic. Over the past 16 months, Morrisons has climbed from being the fifth best-suited retailer to the area to the second, according to CACI data, which notes a fall in wealthy achievers from 41% to 28%. But there's no room for complacency. This October a new retail park is opening, which will include an 80,000 sq ft three-storey Marks & Spencer, a Debenhams and 20 other stores. Store manager Mike Shaw admitted the new shopping centre would put pressure on staff recruitment, but said there were upsides to the scheme and that he was not unduly worried. "The new development will entice shoppers to Livingston from nearby Edinburgh and Glasgow, which I expect will increase our footfall," he said. "However, 1,600 shop workers are going to be required to work for stores at the new centre and I am wary that staff may be tempted to leave for a brand new store."

Q&A with Mike Shaw Store manager of the week

How worried are you that staff will be tempted to work for stores at the new shopping centre? I'm confident the staff are happy here and morale is high. But it will be one of the biggest shopping centres in Scotland, which is a real draw for employees. Our store closes at 10pm, whereas the new ones will probably close at 7pm. Shorter shifts is another big attraction. Asda is best suited to Livingston. Is there a store nearby? Yes, we have an Asda Supercentre in Livingston, one of the biggest in the national estate, and we also have a Tesco near us as well. I think our availability gives us the edge though. I can sit at home at 8pm and be assured that if I suddenly fancy a fresh roast chicken I can come here and get one. I don't have that confidence with availability at Asda or Tesco. We also prepare more fresh food in-store than our rivals. I don't think Asda and Tesco share our attitude to fresh food, so customers don't have the same confidence. Is Morrisons well suited to Livingston? Yes because, like Livingston, Morrisons is also growing and up and coming. Our rebranding programme gave us a more modern image but, I have to say, not one shopper commented when we introduced the new logo. However, our like-for-like sales are superb and we are gaining footfall from Asda and Tesco. Shoppers have responded well to our focus on being the specialist fresh food retailer. What would you like to change about your store? I would like to make it easier for shoppers to leave! Our store is growing fast yet we have only one exit. Because we are located beside a roundabout, there is awful congestion when shoppers leave the car park. The council increased the green traffic light time to the maximum nine seconds but only during the weekend. During the week it is still bad, especially at this time of year because we share a car park with B&Q, which is busy in the spring.


Asda Hunts Cross, Liverpool

2 - Although the selection of bakery products was running low and the Mr Kipling pies and baguette were sold out, the staff were genuinely apologetic and helped our shopper find alternative products. The store was clean and tidy with a variety of promotions but our shopper said the layout was disjointed and the fresh produce and organic vegetable sections were not clearly marked. Only 11 of the 25 checkouts were open, but this was adequate. We visited on 11 April at 6.46pm. Our shop lasted one hour and six minutes. Time spent at the checkout was six minutes.

morrisons Livingston, West Lothian

0 - Availability was top notch at this bright, friendly store and all 33 items were available. The fixtures and fittings were clean and the aisles were uncluttered. There were plenty of special offers and staff were in abundance to offer assistance. Products were logically grouped with clear signage. The checkout assistant was friendly and processed the items quickly. Queues were minimal and 17 of the 28 tills were open, which was sufficient. We visited on 11 April at 12.15pm. Our shop lasted 56 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was two minutes.

sainsbury's Sheffield, South Yorkshire

0 This well-organised store was being restocked during our shopper's visit but the packing cages did not block the aisles and shelf-stackers worked quickly. Even the online delivery pickers, with their oversized trolleys, didn't get in her way. The required size of pork pies was not stocked but, overall, availability was good and displays were neatly arranged. Although the store was busy, checkout queues were short and 17 of the 31 tills were open. We visited on 11 April at 9.47am. Our shop lasted 53 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was four minutes

tesco Thirsk, North Yorkshire

0 - There were no gaps on the shelves at this spacious Tesco and all 33 items were available and easily found by our shopper. The fish counter was busy but staff seemed to be enjoying serving customers. The displays on the meat and fish counters were attractively presented and the floor staff were pleased to help our shopper locate the items she needed. Of the 18 checkouts, 15 were open, which was fine for the number of customers in the store. We visited on 14 April at 11.45am. Our shop lasted one hour. Time spent at the checkout was five minutes.

waitrose Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

1 - This stylish store was brightly lit with clean and spacious aisles. The 24-pack of Weetabix was sold out and the customer toilets were untidy with tissue on the floor. However, sales assistants were happy to guide our shopper to requested items and there was a wide selection of promotions, particularly on the dry grocery aisle. Six of the 15 checkouts were operating and this was sufficient as the store was not busy. We visited on 11 April at 5.05pm. Our shop lasted 50 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was seven minutes.