Sainsburys Habitat homeware

Source: Sands Photography

Sainsbury’s in Upton, Birkenhead had ‘exceptionally high’ standards

Sainsbury’s Upton superstore in Birkenhead secured an easy victory this week with 95 points.

Our mystery shopper said store standards were “exceptionally high”, the branch was “immaculately clean” and availability was excellent, with all 33 items in stock. They were particularly struck by the well laid out and “enticing” bakery, cheese, meat and deli sections.

Customer service also received top marks thanks to the plentiful, well groomed, and “eager to assist” staff. They also made it a priority to swiftly manage the flow of shoppers by the checkout area to minimise queues. All in all, Sainsbury’s delivered a shopping experience that “couldn’t be faulted”.

A total of 25 points separated the winner from second-placed Waitrose. Its Monmouth branch gave our shopper a good first impression with a beautiful display of flowers and plants by the entrance.

The store was very clean, logical and featured enticing end-of-aisle offers, with the food counters singled out for their appearance. Shop floor service too was good overall, contributing to an “enjoyable shop”.

However, the branch’s score was affected by availability issues as three items were out of stock. The car park was also marked down as it was busy with people heading to a big sports event nearby.

Morrisons in Swindon followed with 62 points. Our shopper said general store standards were average. Quite a few shelves were half-stocked and there were noticeable gaps across the store. Despite this, only one of the items on our list was out of stock, while one other was not stocked.

The highlights of this branch were the food counters and customer service. Shop floor staff were all helpful and greeted shoppers with a smile.

Unfortunately, the same was not true for the till assistant, who did not greet our visitor and did not seem to take much care handling products.

Next up was Asda’s Bristol branch, which bagged only 54 points after failing to deliver good shop floor service and struggling with availability. According to our shopper, staff were not very helpful and sported different styles of uniform, which made it hard to identify them, while some were on their phones.

Furthermore, three of our items were out of stock. The fruit & veg and fish areas in particular had a lot of empty sections. Our shopper also said the baked goods did not look fresh.

On the plus side, the store was clean and well organised considering how busy it was. There was also good queue management.

Fifth-placed Iceland put on a poor performance, scoring just 36 points. Its Birmingham store failed to give our shopper a good first impression as there were no available trolleys or baskets at the entrance.

Further into the store, there were some “interesting” displays with good promotions. But the food & veg section was poorly stocked and unattractive.

Availability was an issue throughout the whole store – our visitor only took home 26 items as four were out of stock and three were not stocked.

Tesco’s store in Surrey Quays, London, was this week’s worst performer with just 34 points. Our shopper would not recommend this shop, particularly on the weekend.

Stock supply was low overall – two of our items were out of stock and one not stocked – the displays were not enticing, and staff were “very inattentive and even dismissive”.