Waitrose Bury St Edmunds July 3rd 2024 (1)

Our shopper was impressed by the store’s ‘very tempting seasonal displays’

Waitrose had reason for a double celebration this week. Not only did it retain its crown as the best retailer for customer service at the Grocer Gold Awards, but it got the new Grocer 33 year off to the perfect start as well.

Waitrose Bury St Edmunds picked up the first store of the week prize of the year with 72 points. In truth, it was the only show in town in a fairly low-scoring week.

Analysis of last year’s Grocer 33 data showed all of our retailers, with the exception of Asda, improved their overall availability percentages. However, availability was a struggle for all the stores we visited this week.

There were three out-of-stock items at Waitrose in addition to the same number of not-stocked products.

However, the store was clean and tidy and our shopper was impressed by the “very tempting seasonal displays”.

Staff were excellent. Plenty were available on the shop floor and all were friendly, polite and keen to help customers as much as they could. They were also careful to ensure they did not cause any obstructions for customers.

This week’s runner-up Asda Peterborough came in 10 points behind Waitrose. Our shopper picked up 27 items due to two out-of-stocks and four not-stocked items.

The store was generally clean, barring one spillage that appeared only partially cleaned up. There were lots of staff restocking shelves and, for the most part, they kept out of the way of shoppers – though one unmanned trolley was causing an obstruction.

Similarly to Waitrose, staff were a highlight. Our shopper was impressed by the friendliness of staff, who were apologetic in cases where an item was out of stock or not stocked. They were also able to say when the next delivery was expected for out-of-stock items.

Tesco in Cefn-Mawr was another to suffer from disappointing availability. It scored just 56, dragged down by three out-of-stocks and six not-stocked items.

Restocking was a feature of the visit: there were at least six trolleys in the aisles, with more stock and empty boxes.

Staff were generally helpful. One member of the team took our shopper to the item she needed and another looked up an item on her handheld device to find it was not stocked.

The till area lacked any queue management and our shopper was not impressed by one checkout operator on her phone and another yawning a lot.

Waitrose Bury St Edmunds July 3rd 2024 (13)

Winning store Waitrose Bury St Edmunds

Sainsbury’s store in Chard scored 54 points. Due to its small size, a dozen items were not ranged in the store. However, there was only one out-of-stock item and our shopper was keen to point out suitable substitutions were available in most cases.

The store was easy to navigate but “not very attractive”.

Staff were helpful and offered assistance in trying to find products, taking our shopper to the relevant area of the store on numerous occasions.

Morrisons in Bordesley Green in Birmingham brought up the rear this week with 40 points. Our shopper took 27 items home with two out-of-stocks and four not-stocked items.

Our shopper’s visit didn’t get off to a great start, as she had difficulty in tracking down a trolley. Plenty of staff were on the service counters but not many were available to help on the shop floor.

This could also explain why a spilt yoghurt pot in the middle of the aisle was still untouched 10 minutes after our shopper spotted the spillage.