Sainsburys Sprucefield

Sainsbury’s Lisburn impressed our shopper with its attractive displays

Sainsbury’s secured its first Grocer 33 store of the week crown since December thanks to a strong performance by its Sprucefield Park store in Lisburn.

The Northern Irish store received an impressive 88 points from our shopper, who enjoyed the experience from start to finish.

The positive impression started with a “great car park with lots of spaces available”. Once inside the store, there were attractive displays throughout and a large BBQ promotion that was timely on this sunny Saturday morning. All the aisles were neat and tidy, well stocked and without any obstructions.

Staff were easy to find, and friendly and helpful in every interaction with our shopper – checking the stockroom for products on five separate occasions. The checkout operator was also friendly, striking up a conversation and offering to help pack the bags.

Finally, availability was strong: our shopper took home 31 items, with one out-of-stock and one not-stocked item.

Runner-up Tesco’s Seacroft Avenue store in Leeds scored 84 points, boosted by being the only store this week to avoid any out-of-stock items. However, as with Sainsbury’s, our shopper also took home 31 items, in this case due to two items not being stocked.

Despite the vastness of this 80,000 sq ft store, standards were good throughout, barring some empty boxes left on the floor. One freezer unit wasn’t working, but there was a clear note to explain and apologise.

There were plenty of colleagues present on the shop floor, “working hard to restock shelves and there was also clear manager presence”. All of the staff our shopper approached for assistance were friendly and helpful – although one team  member sent our shopper to the wrong aisle for the Tunnock’s tea cakes.

Third-placed Waitrose Leighton Buzzard came a relatively distant third with 69 points. Our shopper’s visit got off to a stressful start due to a car park that was too small with  a “chaotic” one-way system.

The store was exceptionally busy, which meant “many key items such as bread, meat and dairy were down to very low numbers”. However, our shopper did manage to bag 32 items – just one was out of stock.

In terms of service, staff were very helpful when approached. There were also plenty of open checkouts, which kept queues to a minimum.

However, the number of staff trying to replenish shelves created obstructions, adding to a “chaotic and unpleasant experience”.

Similar problems were apparent at Morrisons Peckham, where staff were busy trying to restock shelves. Availability was the biggest issue, though: there were three out of stocks and three not-stocked items.

On the plus side, customer service was strong, which helped boost its score to a respectable 62 points.  Staff were “happy to help” when approached, with “good eye contact and smiles all round”.

Availability was also the biggest problem at Asda Gosforth. The store notched up just 54 points, dragged down by a  zero score on availability due to three out-of-stocks and four not-stocked items. There were noticeable gaps throughout the store, which was generally clean and tidy but had a slightly confusing layout.

Restocking trolleys and staff “having a chat” did cause some disruption to the aisles. However,all staff were “polite and helpful”.