"Manchester's answer to the United Nations" is how our shopper described the Asda in Hulme, winner of this week's Top Store award. The 44,000 sq ft outlet boasts a wonderfully diverse range of products to cater for the various ethnic groups in the Hulme area. Feroz Patel had a challenge on his hands when he became store manager last November. With 70% of his staff and customer base belonging to ethnic minority groups, communication between workers was suffering due to the obvious language barriers and the staff turnover rate was 50%. Now Patel has turned things around. "We've improved our rostering and recruitment processes. Managers talk to their teams daily about target areas and celebrate what they did well the previous day," he said. "Communication is now more simple and effective as we focus on one clear message which will translate without confusion across the shop floor." Staff turnover has, as a result, fallen to 37%. Although CACI data reveals this Asda to be in a hard-pressed catchment, Patel believes his store's celebration of multi-culturality is part of its appeal. "Visitors compliment me on our diversity. In any one aisle there can be six different store staff from as many ethnic groups and twice that number of ethnic customers!"

Q&A with Feroz Patel Store manager of the week

What else are you doing to get rid of the in-store language barriers? We are looking at one hour per-week evening classes for our staff to attend and develop their English. We hope to establish links with the University of Manchester and Salford and Manchester Metropolitan University as they are all on our doorstep. What products are selling well at the moment? We are trading well on George clothing and the Must Have fashion range. We have just refreshed our music video and games range and Bollywood DVDs are selling extremely well. We also sold two Nintendo Wii bundles on the first morning, which was a great result. How does your ethnically diverse location affect availability? We are in the top three for sales of organic produce in the north of England. Students, businessmen and Chinese people especially are loving our organic range and driving up the sales. The in-store location of the organic selection is also spot-on. Ambient ethnic products are fast sellers and we have one of the biggest ethnic ranges in the country, with halal products, West Indian sauces and Caribbean produce. Supermalt energy drink is massively popular with our West Indian customers. The West Indian carnival is happening in July so we have to be prepared. Last year we sold three pallets of Supermalt just for the carnival and if the weather is bad, sales increase quite dramatically! How green is your store? Our Asda store is one of the bestsellers of the brown Bags for Life in northern England. We also have the heaviest recycling centre in the whole of Manchester. Sometimes we have to call the council for an extra pick-up. What would you like to change about your store? I would like more space! We have a fantastic non-food range and want to extend our core ambient offer. There are plans to add a mezzanine over the next two years.



ASDA Hulme, Manchester

1 - Our champion store for this week had sold out of the 4-packs of Stella Artois - though our shopper noted they were on offer at two packs for £5. The store was busy yet the staff were enthusiastic, as well as helpful. Only the 150g size Cadbury Chocolate Fingers were on offer. Of the 31 tills, 28 were operating. We visited on 1 June at 11.32am. Our shop lasted one hour and 10 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was six minutes 50 seconds.

morrisonS Swadlincote, Derby

1 - This Morrisons store had sold out of loose onions and did not stock the size of fruit scones we requested. When she asked if there were any more onions available, the assistant said "no" without checking or offering alternatives. Sixteen of the 26 tills were open. Hard-wearing and foldable bags were on offer for 69p at the checkout. We visited on 1 June at 16.42pm. Our shop lasted one hour. Time spent at the checkout was six minutes.

sainsbury's Preston, Lancashire

1 - Despite the tidy floor and helpful staff, the major problem with this Sainsbury's was insufficient checkouts operating. Only 16 of the 29 tills were open, which created long queues. The penne pasta was out of stock and there were no mistakes on the receipt. Our shopper was not offered a Bag for Life. We visited on 1 June at 9.56am. Our shop lasted one hour and 14 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was 10 minutes.

somerfield Airdrie, North Lanarkshire

5 - It quickly became evident from availability that this store is closing down on 23 June, with five items out of stock and five not stocked. Many other products were on offer or at half price so the stock could be run down. However, our shopper said the staff were professional and did their best in difficult circumstances. We visited on 1 June at 3.40pm. Our shop lasted 49 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was five minutes.

tesco Leatherhead, Surrey

2 - The cashier that served our Tesco shopper must have been having a bad day as she said he was sullen and unresponsive. Our shopper was also disappointed to find Cadbury Chocolate Fingers were out of stock, as were the avocados. The store was clean and the floor staff were helpful. We visited on 1 June at 10.30am. Our shop lasted 41 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was eight minutes.

waitrose Western Road, Brighton

0 - Although Waitrose was the only store to have no out-of-stock items this week, it did not stock the 2-litre ice cream or the requested size of own-label pork chops. Our bleary-eyed shopper was up early enough to find the store clean and tidy although only five of the 18 tills were open. We visited on 1 June at 8.10am. Our shop lasted 40 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was 8 minutes.