Asda checkout (2)

Source: Mystery shopper

Asda has made it two wins in three weeks thanks to “pristine” standards and a “stress-free” shopping experience at its Bromborough branch.

Calm and ordered, and with wide aisles, our mystery shopper noted how staff maintained social distancing and reminded shoppers to do the same with the help of floor markers.

Checkout operators wore gloves, and cleaning products were provided for trolleys. Our shopper did not spot hand sanitiser for customers, however.

Amid growing concerns over the return of panic buying, Asda also had the best availability this week, with one out-of-stock item and two products not stocked. Although our shopper came across a few departments with “noticeable gaps,” she saw plenty of staff replenishing.

Just three points behind was Tesco’s Kingsbridge branch, where high standards and strong service were offset by a number of items from our shopper’s list being not stocked.

Staff went “above and beyond”, with one handing our shopper the bananas she was reaching for, and another leading her to a product she couldn’t find. The till operator was also friendly and efficient, while the checkout queue was the “best managed” our shopper had encountered since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Covid-19 measures included staff at the entrance monitoring customer numbers, sanitiser and a one-way system. Staff were seen wearing neither masks nor gloves, however.

Waitrose started off well, with no queue to enter its car park and posters reminding customers about social distancing. There were plenty of trolleys, restocking equipment was moved aside, and fixtures were in “excellent condition”.

However, the Southside, Wandsworth store was too crowded at the entrance, so social distancing was not maintained. There was no one-way system and lots of customers were grabbing Quick Check scanners at the same time.

“Very helpful” staff were easy to identify. They also had good knowledge of product locations, which was useful given our shopper struggled to find items.

Availability was generally strong, but there were some gaps in the dairy department.

While all staff wore masks, some were not doing so correctly. They did, however, maintain social distancing and customers did the same inside the store, helped by the abundance of posters and floor stickers.

Checkout queues blocked our shopper’s access to an aisle and no extra tills were opened despite queues building.

Sainsbury’s in East Kilbride was let down by its paid-for car park, limited range and several empty shelves, which meant our shopper only spent half an hour at the supermarket. There were “very few” staff replenishing shelves.

It was quiet, which meant social distancing was easy, but employees were not keeping away from one another. No hand sanitiser or trolley cleaning equipment was seen, and only self-checkouts were open.

Morrisons scored poorly for availability, with five out-of-stock products and one not stocked. Staff were not stacking shelves despite gaps on the bread aisle and frozen pizza section.

The Ellesmere Port branch was clean and had plenty of “polite” employees, but they did not offer to check when out-of-stock products would return. Staff were also seen not wearing masks or gloves and our shopper’s trip ended with a “confusing” queue for the checkout.


This week’s results:

WEEK 15: Sunday, 20/09/2020 (11.00am -2.00pm)WINNER    
  Asda Morrisons Sainsbury’s Tesco Waitrose 
Location Bromborough Ellesmere Port East Kilbride Kingsbridge Wandsworth, London
Date  20/09/2020 20/09/2020 20/09/2020 20/09/2020 20/09/2020
Time slot  11am - 2.00pm 11am - 2.00pm 11am - 2.00pm 11am - 2.00pm 11am - 2.00pm
Shop starts 11:15am 12:45pm 11:00am 12:29pm 11:10am
Visit Duration 01:25 00:45 00:28 01:13 01:25
Shop Duration 01:15 00:41 00:27 01:10 01:15
Car Park  (10) 8 10 5 9 8
Signposting (up to 1) 0 1 0 1 1
Queueing time to park (up to 2) 2 2 2 2 2
Trolleys (up to 2) 2 2 0 1 0
Queueing time from parking the car to enter the store (up to 3) 3 3 3 3 3
Feedback (up to 2)  1 2 0 2 2
  I drove straight past the car park without realizing and ended up going around roundabouts, following the one-way system around the retail park and ended up stopping to ask someone where the Asda was! I continued going around until I was back to where I started and this time noticed a really small entrance with a blink and you miss it kind of sign for the car park. Once in there were plenty of spaces and I found a trolley straight away. There were no queues to enter the store and no barriers either. In fact I accidentally entered the store through the exit at first, until I saw shoppers leaving the store heading towards me, so I went back out and in again the right way. Sanitizer spray was available for the trolleys but none was available for hands. One way system, security at door, hand sanitizer available. Car park was clean, trolleys neatly stacked. The car park was empty so no staff required. The car parks are Car Park 1, 2 and 3. They do not clearly mention Sainsbury so its not clear which is the best entrance to take. There isn’t a sanitising station in the car park or at the lift. The trolley park was empty. The car park was small but there were lots of empty spaces and trolley bays. The signage from the main road was fine, it was well signposted once you arrived but driving along Cookworthy Rd towards it, I felt that although the trees were small they obscured the view of the sign until you weer right on top of the turning. The car park is at the bottom of a small hill adjacent to the access to the main shopping area of Kingsbridge. This made it feel more spacious and part of the surrounding town rather than a stand alone store. The car park was clean, neat and compact and this theme ran right the way through my visit. At the front of the store there was plenty of disabled parking, a walkway through the middle and big wooden planters with flowers. Good use of the outside space had been made to promote seasonal products and the COVID signage was clear and easy to follow. There were simple entrance and exits signs and barriers to guide you and several sanitising stations. A staff member was welcoming people in and out of the store. To the left of the building was a cashpoint, bin, bench and childrens ride. This too was clean and tidy. There was no queue to enter or exit the carpark. This store is inside a large shopping centre and the supermarket is signposted once you are inside the carpark - not outside. There were trolleys in the carpark and they were neatly stacked, however, for those entering from the shopping centre there were no trolleys available at all. Both entrances had a good queuing system that was clearly marked out and was easy to understand and access. There were stickers both outside and inside the store explaining the need for social distancing and showing customers what 2m looked like.
Store standards (20) 17 17 10 20 15
First impression (up to 5)  3 5 0 5 2
Feedback  I entered the store into a calm, ordered space. There had been sanitizer available for the trolley but I couldn’t find any for hands. There were plenty of green circles on the floor reminding everyone to keep a 2 meter distance but I didn’t hear any announcements whilst I was there. Lots of staff around, looked a new and clean store, free fruit available for kids. I entered the store from the lift which is in the entrance hall of the shop. There was no sanitising station available. The trolleys are inside the entrance so I paid for a trolley and then went out into the shopping mall to find a sanitising station. There were flower buckets, newspaper stands, special offers and the kiosk in the entrance along with the trolley park. The kiosk was busy so there was a small queue which meant everyone had to walk around each other. This entrance was small and although there were a lot of promo products it did not feel cluttered as everything was neat and ordered. There was a kiosk, newspaper and flower stand as well as large notices asking you to follow the one way system. Enter from the carpark and you enter a calm and ordered store with staff available. Enter from the shopping centre and the only staff member is a security guard and there are lots of people around the entrance collecting Quick Check scanners, buying ready prepared food and using the kiosk for newspapers and other small items. This entrance has no one way system operating and is crowded. There was a table once inside the store with hand sanitiser available but there was no sign to encourage you to use this and no staff member offering the service - there were lots of hand sanitiser stations outside the store in the shopping mall. There were lots of signs in the store at the end of aisles and on the floor to encourage social distancing and to remind customers to wear a mask or face covering.
Displays (up to 3)  2 3 0 3 2
Availability and replenishment (up to 5)  5 2 3 5 4
Feedback  There were quite a few sections around the store with noticeable gaps on the shelves, however there were lots of staff working hard to replenish them all the time. I noticed when shoppers went near them they would keep to the side of the replenishing trolleys to keep a safe distance. It seemed like every couple of aisles or so there were more staff members stocking the shelves. Frozen pizza section empty, bread pretty empty and gluten free section pretty empty. Other areas well stocked. Didnt see staff re stocking Several shelves were bare particularly the bread aisle and no one was replenishing the stock. I had Lucozade on my list but the two shelves were empty. There were 4 empty freezer cabinets with no explanation. The shop was practically empty but there were very few staff replenishing stock. The shelves were surprisingly full all around the store and this was a very welcome surprise. It is small store so choice of package sizes was not available but most items were. The only bare shelves were in the fresh egg section. All other departments had a good selection of stock available. There were staff stocking shelves in the F&V, Deli and Frozen aisles as i wandered around an they seemed to be keeping up well. Stock levels were very good throughout the store. However, there were some gaps including 4pt skimmed milk (Waitrose Essential own brand). The main item of concern was the ice cream freezers. There were two and they were quite large but one had been completely emptied and turned off and the contents had been dumped into the second. There was a random assortment of ice cream with very little being displayed next to the correct price label.
Obstructions  (up to 3)  3 3 3 3 3
Spillages (up to 2)  2 2 2 2 2
Condition of the store in terms of cleanliness (up to 2)  2 2 2 2 2
Feedback The store standards were excellent. The floors and paintwork were pristine and no litter in sight. Looked new and clean, but certain sections nothing available The store appeared to be clean and tidy. The store standards were excellent. I cannot reiterate enough how neat and tidy the store was. All the areas that had additional items such as boxes and packing materials were still tidy with the items organised and compact to minimise space. The high standards of the outside continued inside and throughout the store the shelves were neatly stocked and the environment really pleasant to shop in. There were no problems in the store. Any restocking trolleys were moved right to the end of the aisles and there is enough space for them to stand there and not block any of the shelving. Everything in the store is in excellent condition and all fittings and fixtures are clean and tidy. There were no leaks or spills and the empty freezer was clean and dry.
Store layout (10) 8 5 6 7 5
Did the store layout seem logical and intuitive? (up to 2)  2 1 0 1 1
Was it easy to navigate the store while also feeling safe? (up to 6)  4 2 4 6 2
Did the store offered any Click & Collect services? (up to 2) 2 2 2 0 2
Shop Floor Service (20) 17 13 17 18 18
Product location (up to 5)  5 5 5 5 5
Staff politness/responsiveness (up to 5)  3 2 5 5 5
Feedback I had a mixture of experiences here. I asked a member of staff if he knew where the garlic mushrooms were and although he didn’t he went to find someone who did and she took me straight to where they were, took a bag out of the freezer and handed them to me, telling me if I wanted any more they were just there. I thought that was excellent customer service and really helpful. The staff member restocking the bread aisle apologised for not having any of the large hovis loaves in but was able to tell me that they do usually stock them, they just didn’t have any in at the moment. In the chilled aisles I didn’t have so much luck. I was trying to find the muller light sweet shop flavour yoghurts but they only appeared to have different flavours in to the usual ones. The staff member I asked was apologetic but didn’t really have any idea why they weren’t there, guessing that maybe the flavours had changed. Likewise, in the fruit section, the member of staff didn’t appear to have heard of the cotton candy grapes and suggested I try asking another staff member to see if they knew anything. Staff were polite but didnt advise when getting restocked or offer to go out back. I found a member of staff coming out of the back store and asked her where to find breadcrumbs. She initially went to the wrong aisle and then took me to the correct aisle. She was also able to tell me that another item on my list wasn’t stocked. Staff were great with one of them (Joe) going well above and beyond for me). Craig was restocking bananas when i reached for some. He asked me if i was happy with the colour (slightly green) and did i want more yellow ones. I then asked him where the pitted dates were and he took me round the aisle to where they were. He pointed out my options and then specifically the “pitted” dates I had asked for. Joe was the last staff member I spoke to about a product. There had just been an announcement on the tannoy about following the one way system so when i asked Joe where the peppers were, he checked his machine, located the aisle and then offered to go and get them for me so i wouldn’t have to follow the one way system. When he came back he had brought me an alternative product as mine was out of stock. Absolutely lovely guy and brilliant customer service. The knowledge the staff had about location of products was very impressive! Bridget served me on the till and was friendly and efficient. She made polite conversation and did all the things she’s supposed to do. Good job guys! Alan was restocking when I asked him if the olives were stocked anywhere else. He paused for a moment and then told me (Aisle 1, right up at the end on the left hand side). He was very friendly and spot on with his knowledge! I asked Lily where the frozen danish pastries were, she told me “next aisle over, just past the ice cream and before you get to breaded products”. Wow! spot on again! She also asked if I’d like her to accompany me but I declined as she was busy restocking. Staff were visible and very helpful throughout the store. There was good knowledge of both where items were to be found, which items were actually stocked and which were out of stock
Was it easy to find a member of staff (up to 3)  3 2 1 3 2
Were staff easy to identify through their uniform or name badges (up to 2)  2 2 2 2 2
Staff presentation (up to 5)  4 2 4 3 4
Feedback Every staff member maintained a safe social distance at all times. Staff were helpful, but not masks or gloves Staff did not appear to be social distancing from each other. Two members of staff were wearing their masks below their noses. The member of staff at the kiosk was not wearing a mask but there was a screen N/A There were plenty of staff in the store and they were very easy to identify. They were all wearing masks but not necessarily correctly - some had masks that were not fully covering their nose and mouth, for example. Social distancing was maintained at all time.
Tills and checkouts (20) 18 12 15 19 12
 How well managed were the queues leading up to the till-operated checkouts in terms of maintaining order and social distancing?  (up to 2)  2 0 0 2 1
How well managed were the queues leading up to the self-service checkouts in terms of maintaining order and social distancing? (Please observe after you’ve completed your shop, and include observations around attentiveness to customers requiring help due to flashing lights/unattended items in bagging area)  (up to 2)  2 0 0 2 1
 How long did it take to queue (prior to scanning) (up to 4)  2 4 4 4 2
Please rate checkout staff on their customer service and safety  (up to 7)  7 4 7 6 5
Time for G33 items to be scanned (including payment)  (up to 3)  3 2 2 3 3
 Was the till receipt free of mistakes?  (up to 2)  2 2 2 2 0
Feedback - please provide any further details/feedback on the tills and checkout: The queues for the tills were very ordered, although this was done by the shoppers themselves without any help from staff. There was clear signage on the floor so you knew where to stand. I waiting for a nod from the checkout operator to move forward and start unloading my trolley. She was wearing a mask and gloves behind a protective screen. My shopping was scanned swiftly and payment taken. It was only when I checked the receipt later on when I got home that I noticed the ginsters large sausage roll had gone through as £1.05 when the actual price should have been 75p. I noticed the self service checkout operators were actively assisting customers at their tills. Morrisons have this system were you queue at end aisle for all checkouts, there are two rows, a basket row and a trolley row, it means people have to walk past the queue to join the back, its very busy, confusing and not covid safe. Till staff were lovely, asked if i needed a bag and if i had a membership card. There wasn’t an open check out when I approached the checkouts. Only the self check outs were open and being supervised by one member of staff who wasn’t wearing their mask properly. A member of staff then interrupted a conversation between staff to ask one to open an check out. A couple walked in front of me and I stood socially distanced behind them. At the time of leaving, there was still only one check out open This was the best managed and most efficient checkout queuing system i have encountered this year. There were regular tannoy announcements asking people with small shops to queue in aisle 4 for the self service tills and then those with bigger shops to queue in aisle 10 at the far end of the store. A supervisor was then able to direct shoppers to the next available checkout without fuss. This also meant that you did not have to weave in and out of people queueing to get things off the shelves. The far aisle in this store is for Home goods and so was not particularly busy anyway. A really great system and having been in a few of them since COVID began this was the best managed yet. There were no staff members managing any of the till queues - and they were building. There are stickers on the floor showing people where to wait. The staff member on the till was not wearing either gloves or mask. Two items were charged differently from the shelf labels - the chips were 60p cheaper at the till but the advertised offer of 2 for £3 for the cashews did not appear and I was charged £2 for each tub.
Availability score (20) 16 9 13 8 15
 Of the 33 items on your shopping list how many were:           
Available (up to 20) 30 27 29 22 29
Out of stock (-2 per item) 1 5 3 1 1
Not stocked (-1 per item) 2 1 1 10 3
Availability % 96.8 84.4 90.6 95.7 96.7
Please note down the items on your shopping list that were out of stock (please highlight the products that have managed to get a satisfactory substitutions) Hovis wholemeal, 800g Warbortons gluten free seeded wraps
Warbourtons gluten free mutliseed bread 330g
Goodfellas magherita pizza
Goodfellas pepperoni pizza
Quorn bites
Lucozade was out of stock.
Also peanuts, raisin and choc chip mix. 
I didn’t buy replacements as I pass another on the way home.
Mild Picante Peppers 400g - substituted for Roasted Red Peppers 360g 4pt skimmed milk (Waitrose Essential) - I purchased 2 x 2 pints.
Please note down the items on your shopping list that were not stocked (please highlight the products that have managed to get a satisfactory substitutions)  Cotton candy grapes, 300g xMuller light sweet shop yoghurts (cinnamon bun and lemon drizzle flavour) x 6 Naked bars -blueberry Tempura batter mix was not stocked.  Again picked it up on the way home.  Pitted Dates 250g - sub - Finest Medjool Dates 200g
Hilltop Honey 225g - sub - Hilltop Honey 340g
Cushelle Toilet Roll x 24 - sub - Tesco T Roll x 24
German Sausage 115g - sub - Tesco Smoked Ham 125g Olives w Chilli/Garlic 210g - sub - Olives w Garlic 160g Meat&Cheese platter 105g - sub - Italian Meat Selection 120g Trewithen Dairy 4pint milk - sub - Tesco milk
Fage Yoghurt 1kg - sub - Fage 500g
Hula Hoops 12 x 24g - sub - 6 x 24g
Robinsons Mango & Pineapple Squash - sub - Robinsons Orange & Pineapple
Waitrose Essential Spelt Flour - purchased Sharpem’s Farm brand
Gordon’s Ultra low alcohol with lime 4 pack - no low alcohol soft drinks available at all (justlow alcohol beer)
Waitrose Essentials Summerfruit Squash - purchased Robinsons brand
Please give any other details or info about your shopping trip, good or bad There is a big click and collect machine towards the front of the store by the fruit and veg aisles.
Once I had managed to find the store, which is a bit hidden away at the back of a retail park, it felt like a calm, stress free experience, even though there were plenty of shoppers inside. There was plenty of space to move around in, with wide, uncluttered aisles and lots of wine on the end of aisle display areas, in case the shopping trip had proved a bit much! Staff were on the whole great, friendly and helpful whilst keeping a safe distance at all times.
Lots of offers, on products I bought, wine, potatoes, crisps, steak .
Click & Collect - available- also had huge clothes and home ware section
I wouldn’t shop there for a full weekly shop as the stock is limited and you have to pay for parking.

Having no sanitising station at the lifts in the car park or the store lift area and not in the store at the trolleys would also stop me shopping there.
Fortunately the store was quiet and I felt comfortable with my own social distancing. 
This was a really pleasant shopping experience. I had to double back on myself several times as I could not find some items and the layout was not as intuitive as it could be but I do think they have made the best use of the space they have. One thing I was not happy with though is that the Frozen Dept. is just a couple of aisles in so i picked up these items close to the beginning of my shop which made me nervous about whether they would stay frozen by the time i got to the checkout. I could have gone back for them of course but the additional one way system made this a bit of a hassle. There are good signs in the store but certain items are not logical. The alcohol section leads into breakfast cereal and the freezers are right in the middle of the store. I passed them and was about to load ice cream into the trolley but realised it would be melted by the time I had completed the rest of the shop. There is no choice but to return to the middle of the store after you have finished your shopping.

The major problem with the store is the entrance/exit from the shopping centre which is very different to accessing from the carpark.  There are no trolleys available, the area is crowded with very little/no social distancing possible and no staff. The carpark entrance is calm and organised in contrast. Once in the store there are good spaces, great stock levels and everything is calm and organised. Staff are helpful and plentiful.  Queuing was not being managed but customers were behaving well. There were queues forming however and we were queuing in the aisle and blocking access - one customer had to ask us to move out of the way so he could reach an item. There were no efforts made to open extra tills whilst I was in the store.
TOTAL SCORE (100) 84 66 66 81 73