Salisbury Tesco homeware nonfood aisle

Our shopper at Tesco in Salisbury was impressed with the store’s layout

Tesco picked up its first Grocer 33 store of the week award since early February. And as it posted a strong set of results, it did the double in our Grocer 33 as it was the cheapest supermarket – and without even needing Clubcard Prices.

Our shopper at Tesco in Salisbury picked up a rare full basket as the store notched-up 85 points. The store has been rearranged since our shopper visited it previously and she was much more impressed with “the new layout, width of the aisles around the clothes and entrance, and general cleanliness”. The floors were “gleaming clean” and the new fixtures and end of aisle promotions stood out clearly.

Our shopper noticed two spillages on her way round the store but they were being dealt with. When she needed to ask staff for help they all proved polite, friendly and helpful. They either clearly directed her to an item, took her there or checked their handheld devices in order to check availability.

Tesco’s nearest challengers were Waitrose Horley and Sainsbury’s Swansea, which both scored 60 points.

Of the two, Waitrose had the stronger availability, with one out-of-stock and one not-stocked item. The shop was, however, let down by the unmanned stocking trolleys left in the chilled aisle, which created a lot of trouble for a customer on a mobility scooter.

Staff were generally helpful, including one member of the team who initially only gave directions to a product that our shopper was not able to follow. However, he saw our shopper later and enquired if she had found the item in question. When she said he hadn’t, he then took to her to it.

There was a long queue at the checkouts as there were not enough open, but the checkout operator was “very friendly”.

Our visit to Sainsbury’s got off to a disappointing start. There were a lot of plants in the foyer, but many were obviously dead and it seemed “had not been watered for some time”.

Availability was the store’s biggest concern. There were four out-of-stocks along with one not-stocked item. There were lots of empty shelves and boxes in the fruit & veg section. Our shopper said it looked like it hadn’t been restocked since the previous day.

Staff were helpful. One team member in particular took our shopper to where an item should be. On finding it out of stock, she offered to find out when it would be back in. The checkout operator was cleaning the belt between customers, which our shopper appreciated, but she did not offer any greeting and continued to chat with two other members of staff.

Morrisons in Arbroath scored 51 points. Three items were out of stock and four not stocked. There were empty shelves and gaps throughout the store, plus several restocking trolleys in the aisles. At one point, our shopper “had to quickly reverse into an aisle as a worker pushing an empty trolley came towards me very quickly. The customer behind me nearly crashed into me”.

Beyond this, staff were generally helpful though not always totally knowledgeable.

Last place went to Asda Huyton Lane in Liverpool, with just 49 points. There were six out-of-stocks along with three not-stocked items. The floor looked “a bit grubby”.

The layout was confusing at times, causing our shopper to backtrack. When she needed help, she found that most staff approached were polite “but appeared busy and uninterested really”.