Sainsbury’s picked up its first Grocer 33 service and availability win since the height of the coronavirus crisis in mid-April.
The retailer’s store in Christchurch, Dorset landed a strong score of 87 thanks to its “polite, friendly and professional” employees.
On a busy Sunday afternoon our mystery shopper noted staff were “mindful of social distancing” while serving customers and stacking shelves. Employees particularly shone during our shopper’s time at the checkouts, achieving a near-perfect score as the till operator was “friendly and chatty”, and handled their items carefully.
There was no one-way system in place, but our shopper felt it wasn’t necessary given how “spacious and easy to navigate” the shop was. Its employees also wore masks and gloves, and the store had installed screens around its checkouts and sanitised trolleys before customer use.
Sainsbury’s scored very highly for its store standards as well, but suffered slightly when it came to availability, due to a lack of icing sugar and the correct size Shreddies.
Our shopper noted a few gaps on shelves, particularly in the fruit and veg department. Staff were working on replenishing those shelves but that did lead to “a few empty boxes” in the fruit and veg aisle.
Asda’s Huyton store in Liverpool provided a full shopping list and matched Sainsbury’s for shopfloor service, but ended up in the runner-up slot following our shopper’s “frustrating” experience at the checkout.
She had to wait over 10 minutes to be served owing to several of the tills being closed despite the store being busy with shoppers. “People were keeping their distance in the queue but because all of these queues were stretching down the aisles, it was difficult for people shopping to pick up the items they needed off the shelves without getting in the way of others,” she explained.
The store was also marked down on its coronavirus safety measures. Asda team members were not wearing face coverings and there was no social distancing enforcement, making our mystery shopper feel as if “everything was back to normal”.
Waitrose in Sandbach, Cheshire received positive feed-back for its safety measures, which included foot-operated hand sanitiser available to shoppers upon entering and exiting the store and social distancing reminders on the floor. Our shopper also found partners were reminding customers to wear their masks while wearing masks themselves.
The upmarket grocer’s availability suffered due to out of stock Yorkshire Tea tea bags, which our shopper put down to it being on offer, as well as the Vileda mop head, San Leo wine and own-label jam doughnuts.
Tesco’s Southwark branch lacked a staff presence at the front of the store, but it scored highly for its availability. It did have three out of stock items and our shopper made three reasonable substitutions.
Morrisons in Southend-on-Sea came in last place this week owing to its low store standards. Our shopper found some sugar spilt on the floor which had been left without employees attending to it.
It also had six out of stock items. These included Heinz salad cream, its own-label berry selection, Napolina passata with basil and own-label bananas. There were also several noticeable gaps on the shelves, but it clawed back some points for good social distancing from employees.
This week’s results:
|WEEK 8: Sunday 02/008/2020 (11.00am - 2.00pm)||WINNER|
|Car Park (10)||8||9||10||9||9|
|Signposting (up to 1)||1||0||1||1||1|
|Queueing time to park (up to 2)||2||2||2||2||2|
|Trolleys (up to 2)||2||2||2||2||1|
|Queueing time from parking the car to enter the store (up to 3)||3||3||3||3||3|
|Feedback (up to 2)||0||2||2||1||2|
|There were no queues to get into the store, everyone was just going in. There were no barriers in place and no stickers on the floor to mark social distancing. It was like everything was back to normal.||At this store there were barriers so you could queue properly although today there wasn’t a queue. The trolleys were neatly stacked with a sign saying “please take a trolley before joining queue” and at entrance there was a cleaning station with antibac spray and paper towel to clean your trolley and hand gel.||There was no queue to get into the store. There were a number of different types of trolley lined up and a car park attendant wiping down trolleys before putting them back in the bay. There was a one way entry/exit system and barriers to ensure entering and exiting customers were kept apart. Although there was not a member of staff outside the entrance, there was little need as it was so quiet but there was a staff member inside the door to greet customers.||The entrance and exit was the same. There were barriers and markings on the floor but no queue to get in and no staff visible at the entrance.||There was a staff chap on the door, sanitising the trolley handles etc and then handing one to each shopper. By doing this it successfully controlled the spread of customers entering. There were no queues today|
|Store standards (20)||15||13||18||15||15|
|First impression (up to 5)||3||3||4||3||3|
|Feedback||You enter the store via automatic doors and there are big signs up reminding you to social distance along with sanitizer stations for both hands and trolleys. Once in the main part of the store my first impression was how big it was. There was plenty of space with wide aisles and the flooring was spotlessly clean. I had a choice of aisles to go down in front of me or I could go up the escalator to the huge clothing and home section upstairs.||At the inside entrance there was more hand sanitiser and a shop assistant with a counter making sure not too many people were in the store at once.||The store was calm and quiet and a large area had been cleared at the front of the store to allow for social distancing. There was a staff member greeting customers at the entrance and a customer service desk.||It’s quite spacious as you walk in and looks well-stocked.||There was a foot operated sanitiser pump near the entrance for the use of customers. There were floor notices reminding shoppers to keep 2m apart. All staff had masks and when speaking to customers kept a good distance for safety. The door staff were checking that all shoppers had face masks.|
|Displays (up to 3)||2||1||3||2||3|
|Availability and replenishment (up to 5)||3||3||4||4||3|
|Feedback||The handwash section looked similar to how it had been looking everywhere earlier in lockdown, with very little choice available. There were also big gaps on the shelves containing loaves of bread and bottled water. Most other sections looked well stocked and ordered. I only noticed one member of staff who was replenishing stock and that was in the freezer section.||There was quite a lot of empty places on the shelves. When I asked for a couple of things they said they hadn’t had a delivery for a couple of days and were waiting on a lot of things. The fruit section had been filled with what they had but not everything that was needed. I particularly wanted a mixed berry selection which they didn’t have. The tinned section had quite a few bare shelves including the tinned tomatoes and sweetcorn shelves. The sauce section also wasn’t fully stocked with bare shelves were the tomatoe sauce and mayonnaise would be.||Although I was able to purchase almost everything on my list, there were quite a few out-of-stock gaps throughout the store, especially in the fruit and veg department. Having said this there were a number of staff throughout the store engaged in stock replenishment.||Some food and drink items were either not sold or out of stock but shelves were not stripped bare or untidy.||The tea aisle was sparse. The 160 Yorkshire tea bags were all gone, but they are on special offer, so the canny Waitrose regulars had had them all. There were 2 staff members trying to stock shelves, but having to step away every time a customer approached. Their trolleys were a bit of an obstacle.|
|Obstructions (up to 3)||3||3||3||3||2|
|Spillages (up to 2)||2||2||2||2||2|
|Condition of the store in terms of cleanliness (up to 2)||2||1||2||1||2|
|Feedback||Store standards were excellent. The paintwork was clean and I did not notice any litter on the floors, which were spotlessly clean, despite the very large number of shoppers. It was a busy afternoon but this did not affect the condition of the store.||The store was tidy and a lady assistant was walking round with a trolley taking away empty boxes and tidying the shelves.||Overall the store was very clean and tidy. The only areas of concern were a few empty boxes on the floor in the fruit and veg department and evidence that the freezers had leaked in one aisle (a yellow sign in place and a few yellow and black mop-up sponges). All staff replenishing stock had placed trolleys so as not to obstruct and were mindful of customers as they refilled shelves.||Some sugar was spilt on the floor and was left there. Some liquid was on the floor but was being cleaned up and had a yellow ‘wet floor’ sign.||The store was the usual Waitrose high standard - which was an improvement on my last visit. I visited the lavatory before I started shopping, and they were very clean and tidy. No worries there. There was one odd incident. I asked a staff lass if they had any more donuts as the shelf was labelled, but empty. She checked on her hand held stock monitor/thingy but then told me this store doesn’t stock them ! Odd, why have the shelf label.|
|Store layout (10)||7||7||8||7||8|
|Did the store layout seem logical and intuitive? (up to 2)||1||1||2||1||2|
|Was it easy to navigate the store while also feeling safe? (up to 6)||4||4||4||4||4|
|Did the store offered any Click & Collect services? (up to 2)||2||2||2||2||2|
|Shop Floor Service (20)||15||17||15||10||16|
|Product location (up to 5)||3||5||0||0||3|
|Staff politness/responsiveness (up to 5)||5||4||5||4||4|
|Feedback||One staff member was unable to locate the large hovis bread on the shelf so he went out the back to check if there was any there. He came back, apologised and told me they don’t stock it. Another staff member approached me after noticing I had made eye contact with her to offer help, informing me that she had only ever seen the yoghurt I was looking for in the really big size. I asked a third staff member for help locating the dough balls and chilled pizza and he pointed and told me they were on the very back wall. The staff member who was replenishing the freezer aisles advised me that she hadn’t seen any lamb kebabs in that section but suggested I could try down aisle 30 where they do have some in the chilled section. I thought the staff member who just pointed and told me where to head was polite but did the minimum necessary really, whilst the other three staff members were really genuine and wanted to help as much as they could.||When I couldn’t find the berry selection I spoke to Sam and he was helpful saying where it would be taking me over there and then apologising saying it must be one of the things they are waiting for. He also helped when I tried to find chantenay carrots saying they don’t always stock those but they may be coming on the next delivery but he couldn’t be sure. I spoke to Sasha when i could not find the passata I wanted she apologised and said they didn’t have any stock out the back, smiled and said Morrisons own brand one with onion and garlic was good. I spoke to James when the shelf was empty where the Sprite no sugar should be, he said they were waiting for a delivery. I spoke to Jessie when I couldn’t find frozen garlic dough balls. She said she didn’t believe they stocked those as the freezer was full and there wasn’t an empty space. She didn’t offer to check but suggested some garlic bread slices.||Staff throughout the store were very polite. There was a young staff member organising trolleys who was happily chatting to customers. Checkout staff were friendly and the staff member I asked for help went to try to find item.||N/A||I asked for a couple of items and both staff members offered to take me, but I said no it’s fine, just tell me where to find them. There directions were clear and helpful. They were all helpful and friendly.|
|Was it easy to find a member of staff (up to 3)||2||2||3||2||3|
|Were staff easy to identify through their uniform or name badges (up to 2)||2||2||2||2||2|
|Staff presentation (up to 5)||3||4||5||2||4|
|Feedback||All staff kept a safe social distance of at least two metres when assisting me and I did not notice any members of staff getting to close to customers during my shop.||Not all were wearing gloves/masks but all stayed a safe distance when I was asking for help.||All staff were acting professionally and safely. They were on hand to help and were mindful of social distancing as they moved around the store.||As I was wearing a mask, staff could stand nearer when speaking to me.||They all had face masks but none of them wore gloves|
|Tills and checkouts (20)||13||12||19||15||18|
|How well managed were the queues leading up to the till-operated checkouts in terms of maintaining order and social distancing? (up to 2)||1||1||2||1||2|
|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)||1||1||2||1||2|
|How long did it take to queue (prior to scanning) (up to 4)||0||4||4||2||4|
|Please rate checkout staff on their customer service and safety (up to 7)||6||1||6||6||5|
|Time for G33 items to be scanned (including payment) (up to 3)||3||3||3||3||3|
|Was the till receipt free of mistakes? (up to 2)||2||2||2||2||2|
|Feedback - please provide any further details/feedback on the tills and checkout:||There were long queues at each of the checkouts that were open and it was frustrating that a number of checkouts were closed when the aisles were full of shoppers with full trolleys waiting to be served. People were keeping their distance in the queue but because all of these queues were stretching down the aisles it was difficult for people shopping to pick up the items they needed off the shelves without getting in the way of others. When it was finally my turn I was acknowledged by the staff member on the till and told I could start loading up now. She was very quick at scanning the items, made eye contact, said hello and goodbye and handled the goods carefully. The self service checkouts appeared to be quieter with the attendant alert and observing.||Sam was our till operator. He replaced the gentleman that was already there. I don’t think he enjoys being on the tills as he didn’t say hello, didn’t offer help with packing or ask if I needed bags and didn’t say goodbye.||There were no queues at the checkout and many operators waiting to serve customers. There were screens between checkouts to separate customers but not screens between customer and checkout operator. The checkout operator was chatty and friendly and carefully handled the goods.||Many customers preferred to queue at the very first checkout rather than go to other checkouts with fewer customers. The checkout girl repeatedly told customers queuing that they would have a shorter wait if they went to another checkout but they preferred to stay where they were.||The queue was very short, as enough tills were in operation to keep everyone moving without crowding. Very well organized.|
|Availability score (20)||15||7||17||10||4|
|Of the 33 items on your shopping list how many were:|
|Available (up to 20)||28||26||31||25||25|
|Out of stock (-2 per item)||0||6||1||2||8|
|Not stocked (-1 per item)||5||1||1||6||0|
|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)||N/A||Own label 10pk bananas - bought smaller pack
Own label chantenay carrots - bought normal carrots
Napolina passata with basil - bought Morrisons passata with garlic and onion
Heinz salad cream 30% less fat - bought full fat
Sprite no sugar 8 cans - bought 7Up free
Own lable berry selection
|Icing sugar (didn’t substitute)||Tesco Turnip £ 0.50 £0.50/each
Tesco Chilli & Lime King Prawns 150G £ 3.50 £23.34/kg
|Yorkshire 160 tea-bags;
Vileda mop head;
San Leo small wine;
Substituted -Romano red pepper, twin pack instead of single item;
OB demerara sugar replaced the Tate & Lyle;
Ord OB olives replaced the Nocellara ones;
and Teisseire full sugar granadine replaced the 0% sugar.
|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)||Hovis wholemeal bread, 800g
Cadbury dairy milk mint crisp, 54g
Walls tasty vegan sausage roll, 120g
Own brand 4 minted lamb kebabs
Lancashire farm low sugar Greek style yoghurt, 450g
|Chicago Town takeaway garlic dough balls||Shreddies 415g - they only had the 675g size on a shelf and no labels/space on the shelf to suggest they stocked the smaller size. I asked a member of staff whether they had the smaller size and she checked the replenishment trollies but couldn’t find any, explaining that they had had a lot of people buying Shreddies lately.||Frugo Blueberry & Kombucha Fruit Drink 500Ml £ 1.50 £0.30/100ml
San Miguel Alcohol Free Beer 330Ml £ 1.10 £3.34/litre
Tesco Langoustines 500G £ 7.00 £14.00/kg
Tesco Raw Scallops 150G £ 3.85£25.67/kg (I got the 180g for £5.00 instead) Regal Madeira Double Slice 370G £ 1.25 £0.34/100g (I got the £1.25
Tesco Madeira Cake instead)
The Collective Dairy Kefir Yogurt Coconut 135G £ 1.00 £0.74/100g (I got the Mango flavour instead)
|Please give any other details or info about your shopping trip, good or bad||The store is huge! It even has a Greggs inside as well as a Décathlon sports store. It took me a while to find where certain things were, partly due to the size and partly due to a lack of signage in the sections close to the front of the store where the fruit and veg, cold meats and deli sections are. I must have gone up and down the same three aisles several times trying to find the roast potatoes in the veg section. The rest of the store has signage so it was easier to find things there. A large selection of items is available but I was surprised to find that something as common as a large loaf of hovis wholemeal isn’t available here. With the exception of the queue for the till, social distancing appears to have all but disappeared as some of the aisles were really quite crowded at times with people coming face to face with each other.||There was a lovely selection of plants for sale in the car park. The butchers section was at the other end of the store to the fridges which felt a bit weird when I was looking for my lamb joint.||Click and Collect was available and customers were directed to the travel money desk inside the store to ‘sign in’ and a designated area of the car park for picking up their order. Apart from the entry/exit there was no one-way system in operation, although this was not needed as all aisles felt spacious and easy to navigate. There were fewer promotional displays as I would normally expect, which allowed customers more space.
Overall, it was a very calm visit and at all times felt very safe. All staff and most customers adhered to social distancing and everyone wore masks. It was much quieter than I would expect for late Sunday morning.
|In the snacks section you would have large packets on the shelf e.g. 300g Tesco Sesame Seeds but then the small version of the same product e.g. 100g Tesco Sesame Seeds would be on the shelf opposite in the same aisle. Different sizes of the same product should be side by side on the same shelf and not opposite each other because the customer might think only one size is available.||Nice light and airy store with good cat park. Nice clean loo’s (especially relevant at the moment) friendly well trained staff. In all, an easy and pleasant shop. Thank you Waitrose !!|
|TOTAL SCORE (100)||73||65||87||66||70|