Tesco in Corstorphine, Edinburgh won this week’s top store award thanks to a clean branch with strong availability, smiling staff and an efficient checkout assistant.

A polite staff member escorted our shopper to the items she needed and plenty of tills were open at a store that was quiet at the time of visiting. Staff were busy stacking shelves but did not get in the way.

Availability was also strong at Sainsbury's Enderby branch, but parts of the fresh aisle looked thin on stock. The checkout assistant was polite, but did not make any conversation with our shopper. The queues were also long.

Asda’s Belfast branch had no out-of-stock items too, but a rude checkout assistant who barely spoke to our shopper let it down. Shelf stackers cluttered the aisles and an assistant was unable to help our shopper find the bread.

An inefficient staff member disappointed our shopper at Morrisons in Airdire. He told our shopper the runner beans were out the back, and went to find them, but failed to return with them. However, the checkout assistant was “very polite and cheery”, plenty of tills were open, and the store looked tidy.

Availability was also less than perfect at Waitrose in West Ealing. However, a polite assistant took our shopper to the freezer with the scampi. The queues were short and the checkout assistant greeted our shopper.

Winner: fraser craig, store manager, tesco, corstorphine

How is your discounter range doing?
Really well and we are about to expand some of the popular brands that have received great feedback since we introduced the range four months ago. We currently have 364 in store and will be getting 150 extra lines over the next fortnight. The brands we are expanding include Key Country bacon as well as household brands Daisy and SpringForce.

How much freedom does your head office give you when deciding on what to stock?
We have a certain amount of freedom when deciding which Scottish products we stock. We have a whole team that looks after our local produce. If a customer requests something then I have the choice of putting it in the store. A lot of our fresh, meat, fish and poultry products are locally sourced.

What is your biggest management challenge?
Shoppers are now more picky about where they shop than before now that money is tighter. Therefore we have to focus more on providing the best possible service and fulfilling customer promises, including queue management and strong availability.

How did you cope with the chaos Christmas brings?
We managed the store well and were much better organised this year. We were even featured in the local paper for the way we coped during the busy time. We maintained congestion with the help of car park attendants. The police and traffic wardens also did a great job in helping us.

How is your non-food offer faring?
Our non-food sales are marginally down, but our food offer is up. Although nothing has been finalised yet, we are hoping to extend the store by adding another floor to make the store 90,000 sq ft, which would extend both our food and non-food offer.

How do you motivate staff?
By giving them opportunities to develop their careers. Tesco is such a big company and there are so many great opportunities for staff. A Home Plus store, which sells non-food only, opened in Edinburgh recently and I supplied them with a couple of managers as well as support in its first few weeks. It is the first of its kind to be opened in Scotland.