Tesco fruit and veg aisle Roundhay Leeds

Tesco’s Roundhay supermarket in Leeds was ‘attractively merchandised’

New Morrisons CEO Rami Baitiéh this week revealed seven examples of how he was looking to get the business back on track. A key action to better meet customer requirements was holding a roundtable twice a month with customers – and once a week in problem stores – so it would be interesting to hear what customers have been saying at the meetings in its Sutton High Street store.

Our mystery shopper was certainly not impressed: it scored just 21 points, one of the lowest scores in the Grocer 33’s history.

Issues included having to wait seven minutes for the lifts from the car park to the store. Inside was “a bit chaotic” with restocking taking place and trolleys blocking several aisles.

Availability was poor, with seven items out of stock, meaning our shopper needed to ask staff about a lot of missing items. She found it very hard to find anyone, and those she did track down “were not super helpful”. She was told if products were not on the shelf “then we don’t have it”. Another staff member said there were no cherries as they were not in season – only for our shopper to find them by chance later.

Morrisons wasn’t the only sub-par store this week: Asda in Peterlee scored just 30. Similarly, availability was a serious issue, with five items out of stock early on a Saturday morning. The fruit & veg section was well-stocked but other shelves had many gaps. Our shopper had difficulty navigating because there were two restocking trolleys directly opposite each other in an aisle on two occasions. “There seemed to be an unusual number of abandoned stock trolleys left around,” while our shopper was also hindered by staff picking online grocery orders.

Her staff interactions were “a curate’s egg” with some extremely helpful while “others were somewhat offhand in their replies”. The biggest problem arose from an attempt to find the Gü desserts, with one member of staff disappearing for 10 minutes mid-query. Another helpful staff member told her the bakery staff she needed were on a break and would be back in 10 minutes. Following this long wait, the staff member on the counter showed a total lack of knowledge of the products in that section.

There were another five out-of-stock items at Waitrose in Crewkerne, which in addition to two not-stocked items meant our shopper took home just 26 items. Solid customer service and a pleasant checkout experience did go some way to redeem the store as it scored 53 points.

It was a case of solid if not spectacular for runner-up Sainsbury’s in Camberley. The store scored 65 with three out-of-stocks and one not-stocked item. The store was clean and the signage was logical. Our shopper needed help on two occasions, with mixed results. One member of staff took her to the item she needed, while another simply advised that if it wasn’t on the shelf then “they didn’t have any”.

The one standout store was Tesco Roundhay in Leeds. A top score of 83 points came about despite two out-of-stocks and one not-stocked item. Our shopper said the store was “attractively merchandised and standards were excellent with promotions well executed”. A number of video screens enhanced the experience. The store was well-stocked and though staff were restocking in some areas they did not cause any hindrance to shoppers.

Staff were excellent throughout, with all those our shopper asked for help taking plenty of time to deal with her needs.