The common impression is that Lidl’s no frills offer means it doesn’t do customer service. But as our guest retailer this week, the High Wycombe store scored an impressive 78 out of 100 - missing first place by just a point and drawing with Waitrose. The store was busy but “clean and attractive” and despite being a basic store without fancy facilities and scoring minimal points for layout, plenty of staff were around to help with queries. Some trolleys were seen in aisles but they didn’t cause obstruction and there was no queue at the checkout.

The winner, however, was Tesco’s Streatham Extra store, where staff were polite and courteous, with the bakery assistant singled out for giving “outstanding” service when help was required to find the soft white rolls. The free-range eggs strangely weren’t with the rest, so our shopper was directed to the front of the store. There was a slight queue at the checkout and a small mistake spotted on the receipt in our shopper’s favour

Waitrose East Grinstead was “very clean” and parking was easy. In store there was a display of beauty products “too close” to the entrance/exit, which was a little tricky to navigate while shoppers were trying to get out of the store. In the fruit & veg section, gaps were seen on the shelves but staff service was good. At the checkout, the assistant looked miserable and didn’t engage in conversation, say hello or offer to help pack.

The small trolleys had run out at Morrisons Newland Street as trolley parks in the car park were full. Inside it was spacious, if busy. Staff were scarce and the few on the shop floor were yelling conversations at each other over customers’ heads. At the checkout, there was lots of space and no queue.

Entry to Asda Preston was “narrow, claustrophobic and congested”, said our shopper. An attractive display was seen promoting summer toys and shelves were “well-stocked”. The layout wasn’t always intuitive with similar products placed in different locations and at the checkout, lanes were “narrow” and there was a long queue.

Stock was poor at Sainsbury’s Bradford on Avon, with three out-of-stocks and two not-stocked, gaining it just one point for availability, but at least restocking didn’t cause any congestion and the store was “well-organised and cared for”. Produce was also nicely displayed, the layout made it “easy” to find the items and staff friendly.