tesco extra store (2)

Enticing seasonal displays, an “excellent” range of services, a swift checkout - on a busy Saturday morning - and good availability gave Tesco in Basildon the win this week.

Waitrose in High Wycombe came in a clear second with 75 out of 100, as, like Tesco, only two items failed to make it into our mystery shopper’s basket. The “clean, neat and spacious” store looked “very seasonal” and was “well stocked”.

Morrisons in Birmingham and Asda in Milton Keynes tied for third on 50 points. The stores were dogged with availability issues, with the former missing nine of the 33 lines (three out of stock and six not stocked) and the latter 12 (all not stocked). Both stores were on the small side, our shoppers noted.

Morrisons offered “limited” extra services and the checkout area was overcrowded, with queues blocking aisles. Our shopper was surprised at the lack of Christmas decorations in store, but the staff were “friendly and talkative”.

Our shopper didn’t find Asda to be well merchandised or have a great selection of items. She had difficulty finding staff.

A two-mile queue for the Sainsbury’s car park in Oxford, which the supermarket shares with a shopping mall, saw our shopper forced to walk a mile to the store. A lack of in-store services - with no butcher, fish, bakery or deli counters - further dragged down the score, as did “an extremely limited” range, with one line out of stock and five not stocked. A full score for shop floor service was the only positive, with the “lovely, polite and helpful” staff “a credit to Sainsbury’s”.