sainsburys lincoln Natural Expressions Photography

Source: Natural Expressions Photography

The store also scored highly on service, both on the shop floor and on the checkouts

Sainsbury’s Lincoln took first place this week with 87 points. It was the only store to notch up full marks on availability, stocking all 33 Christmas-themed items.

The store also scored highly on service, both on the shop floor and on the checkouts.

Staff were easy to find and were generally friendly and helpful. Meanwhile, the checkout area was fairly calm with sufficient tills open – resulting in a wait of just two to three minutes. Our shopper was served by an assistant in a Christmas jumper, who was polite, chatty and efficient.

“This was an enjoyable shop with plenty to see,” summed up our shopper.

Second place went to Tesco Ilkley with 67 points. The shop had strong service with helpful shop floor staff and a quick turnaround at the checkout.

The car park had been cleared of snow, and had spaces despite being fairly busy.

In terms of store standards, the branch appeared clean and tidy, with no obstructions from restocking trolleys. The layout was also clear and the products were easy to find.

Finally, there was no queue on the checkout and the service was good.

The only downside was availability. Two items were out of stock – the Christmas crackers and smoked salmon slices – and three were not stocked.

Third place went to Asda High Wycombe with 54 points. The store had excellent shop floor service but fell down on availability and the car park.

All staff were “friendly and helpful” and one assistant was commended for going out of her way to help find the mulled wine. Some of the staff looked a little scruffy, however.

The score was lowered by a very busy car park, which resulted in our shopper having to wait two to three minutes on entrance.

The availability score was also low: six items were out of stock including the brandy and Christmas cake, and two were not stocked.

Next up was Waitrose Exeter with 50 points. Our shopper enjoyed the Christmas shop but found service somewhat lacking – staff were not easy to find and did not greet our shopper.

It was easy to enter and exit the car park but our shopper had to go around a few times to find a parking space.

There was no queue at the checkout, while the assistant handled the shopping with care and thanked our shopper.

The store appeared clean and tidy, with an attractive display of Christmas decorations.

Again, the store suffered on availability: five items were out of stock and seven were not stocked in this branch.

Last place went to Morrisons Sheldon in Birmingham with 46 points. The store had a massive car park with plenty of spaces, and was well designed for pedestrians to cross from their car to the store entrance.

However, store standards suffered because of a broken travelator that forced our shopper to “virtually carry” his trolley up. No staff were around to help, and the travelator was still broken when our shopper left.

Our shopper found the layout confusing, with some items spread out that should have been together.

Shop floor service was lacking when it came to locating missing products. One staff member directed our shopper to customer services, another gave a rough direction.

Finally, there was a very long queue of eight to nine minutes on the checkout, with just five manned tills open.

Two items were out of stock and two were not stocked.