Waitrose flowers

Source: Mystery shopper

This wasn’t a high scoring week overall but we were at least treated to a close battle for the top spot. Having edged out Waitrose Alton by a single point, the service and availability award went to Tesco Extra, Rutherglen in Glasgow,

Both stores claimed 20 out of 20 for shop floor service, but Tesco ultimately fared better in getting products on shelf, helping it to score a total of 73.

Tesco had just one out of stock item, with five not stocked. Our shopper felt there were suitable alternatives available for two of them, while others she felt were probably not widely sold in Scotland.

Our mystery shopper found the store generally clean and tidy and well-signposted. There were signs of a spillage in one aisle, which a staff member was clearing up when our shopper passed. She also spotted a couple of unmanned restocking trolleys in the aisles.

However, staff were the stars of the show. Our shopper said they were all very “helpful and willing” to assist.

Waitrose failed to muster any points for availability, with four out-of-stocks and two not-stocked lines. Aside from that, our shopper had a pleasant trip around the store, which “smelled wonderful on account of all the lovely flowers”.

She described the store as welcoming and was full of praise for staff. When asking for help on three occasions, “nothing felt like too much trouble”.

Staff were all well presented and our shopper noted they all took great care with products when stocking shelves.

There was a significant drop-off in scores between the top two and the rest of the pack.

Asda in Sutton took third spot with 59 points. The biggest issue was availability, with our shopper registering a dozen out-of-stocks.

However, our shopper found staff helpful and the store was clean and tidy, even if it was difficult to navigate at times.

Sainsbury’s store in Salisbury was a further five points behind Asda. Our shopper was annoyed before even entering the building as she had to pay for parking at the car park, run by the local council. She was disappointed there did not seem to be an option to have the ticket validated by Sainsbury’s.

It didn’t get a lot better at the entrance to the store, which was “not particularly inviting”. Although the aisles were free of restocking trolleys, there was a bucket in one area full of water from a leak in the roof. The store “whilst tidy, also felt a bit tired”.

In terms of availability there were three out-of-stocks and five not-stocked items. Our shopper found the layout confusing and felt it was not geared up for customers doing a full weekly shop as “it wasn’t always in a logical order, exacerbated by the slight feeling that a lot is crammed into the available space”.

Staff were polite and friendly but our shopper got the sense they could have done more, such as offer to check on stock levels or look in the storeroom.

Bottom of the pile this week was Morrisons in Cannock with 51 points. The poor showing came despite the store actually having the strongest availability for our shopping list with just one product out of stock and two not sold. However, our shopper spotted a number of gaps around the store.

The store was untidy due to a lot of restocking trolleys having been abandoned in the aisles and some left with empty cardboard boxes in them.

Staff, when our shopper could find them, were helpful – but the big problem was an overall lack of colleagues available on the shop floor.