Tesco store aisle homecare

Tesco’s ‘spacious’ store in Irlam impressed with particularly helpful staff

Tesco has emerged victorious for the third time in the past five weeks of the Grocer 33 mystery shop.

The UK’s biggest grocer’s Irlam store in Manchester racked up a score of 77, edging out Asda in Livingston by just a single point.

Our shopper enjoyed the wide and well-signposted aisles, which provided “a more spacious and less crowded feel than usual”.

The store was generally well-stocked on this Friday evening bar the chilled juice section, which was empty.

At this point our shopper had to ask a member of staff about the Innocent juice, and she was happy to retrieve a bottle from the storeroom.

It was an interaction that represented an excellent in-store team. Two colleagues went to the storeroom to find a product and another took our shopper to the item she was looking for.

There was a lot of restocking taking place but staff were careful not to cause any obstructions.

There was only a slight snag on availability. Two of the items on our list were out of stock, meaning our shopper left with 31 of the products on our list.

Our shopper also felt there should have been more manned checkouts open, but overall she was full of praise for the “well-run store”.

Similarly to Tesco, Asda had two out-of-stocks this week, but excelled on service. Our shopper described the store as “a very pleasant shop”.

Although there was a lot of restocking activity – and one abandoned large trolley created an obstruction – staff mostly kept out of the way of shoppers.

Plenty of staff  were on hand when our shopper needed assistance and they were all very helpful.

The checkout experience was also a positive one thanks to a “very pleasant young man on the tills”.

Third place went to Sainsbury’s in Sale with 70 points. The car park was a little untidy and our shopper had to search around for a trolley.

On entering the store, our shopper noticed the fruit and veg section had a lot of gaps, which staff were trying hard to replenish. This pattern was replicated throughout the store – although there was just one out-of-stock item and one not-stocked line on our list.

On a positive note, staff were generally very helpful. Two of three team members went out of their way to find a missing product.

Ten points further back was Waitrose in Harborne, Birmingham. The car park was confusing and untidy, with a number of spaces coned off without any clear reason why.

The store seemed a little untidy in places as well, with a grubby floor.

Some of the staff similarly appeared scruffy, while our shopper felt one colleague with a restocking trolley “was almost barging through customers”.

The experience was summed up by a slightly “lacklustre” checkout operator at the till.

Picking up the rear was Morrisons in Ormskirk on just 58 points.

The big letdown was availability. Our shopper bagged just 27 items as four products were out of stock, and two lines were not stocked.

The other issue was the checkout experience. The scruffily dressed operator “made no effort to interact” with our shopper.

Staff on the shopfloor, however, came across as well presented and friendly.

Our shopper also noted the store was clean, well managed and easy to get around.