The frozen food specialist scored 77 points after our mystery shopper described a trip to its Food Warehouse store in Boulevard Retail Park, Speke, as an “easy, enjoyable shop in a very pleasant environment”. The aisles were wide and bright, with good signage all around. The store was clean and overall standards were “excellent”.
Staff were one of the highlights – easy to find, friendly and helpful, and often taking time to explain why a product was not stocked. As the store was relatively small, five of our items were not stocked. But overall availability was good, and our visitor said this was “the most relaxed” shop she had ever made on a Saturday.
Waitrose’s Poynton branch came a close second with 75 points. The January savings offers caught the eye of our shopper as she walked in. Inside, the food counters were attractively presented and well stocked, and customers were “served in good time”.
Although the checkout assistant “lacked enthusiasm”, shop floor staff were helpful and attentive. Availability was fairly good, with only two items out of stock and one not stocked.
A one-point difference saw Asda take third place. Its Gloucester superstore had an extensive range in food (including several “attractive” fresh counters), home and clothing. Our shopper particularly highlighted the fitness clothing display and flower stands.
While the store was generally well stocked, some shelves were empty (though duplicate stock was available, stacked up on a higher shelf). At the same time, there was lots of restocking activity taking place that avoided being obstructive. Our visitor bought 30 items as three were out of stock, but she would “definitely return”.
Fourth place saw a tie between Morrisons and Tesco, on 73 points each. The former’s Abergavenny store was described by our shopper as clean and well managed. The offers and plant section at the entrance were “impressive” and the Valentine’s Day aisle was “impactful”. The fresh food counters were named as a highlight, while the food to go section was full, and even the food at the in-store café looked great.
However, she noted that the shop floor ended up looking slightly messy due to restocking. There were trolleys taking up space across several areas of the store, but availability was good (only two OOS items).
Meanwhile, Tesco’s Heswall branch impressed with its cleanliness and safety. The Easter-themed display was eye-catching, and the deli section looked attractive and featured good Clubcard promotions.
Availability was generally good (two items were out of stock and one was not stocked), and staff were very helpful and friendly. The most underwhelming moment of the shop was when the cashier did not offer to replace a bag of apples when our visitor’s one tore open.
Sainsbury’s Rugby branch came last with 72 points, though it fared better in terms of availability than some of its rivals. Our shopper said there were very few gaps, with only the chicken breast mini fillets being out of stock.
Overall, the store looked ordered and well kept. Staff were all helpful and though there were a few restocking trolleys, the wide aisles meant they did not cause obstructions. However, our visitor was not impressed with the food counters, which were “average”.