apple orange juice aisle shelf Tesco

Availability was strong and staff were friendly at the Tesco we visited

Tesco this week continued its run as the form retailer in terms of customer service and availability.

Thanks to its Extra superstore in Solihull, the UK’s biggest grocer picked up its fourth store of the week crown in the past seven attempts.

Key to its success was the fact our shopper was able to buy what seems like an increasingly rare full basket. Availability was strong throughout the store, though this seemed to be largely down to lots of staff busily restocking shelves in almost every aisle.

It was a busy Sunday lunchtime and our shopper was impressed staff were able to keep out of the way of customers for the most part. A staff member did block our shopper on one occasion but apologised and moved out of the way.

Staff all seemed well presented and friendly, and when our shopper needed assistance they were happy to take her to the item she was looking for.

The store was well laid out and easy to navigate, though our shopper felt some of the bulk buy displays gave the store more of a Costco-style warehouse feel. There were short queues at all of the tills, making the area feel congested. Our shopper also found the operator a little shy. This cost the store some marks but it still registered a strong score of 77 points.

This week’s runner-up was Morrisons in Fleet with 69 points. There were two out-of-stocks, which, along with three not-stocked items, meant our shopper left with 27 items. Overall, shelves were well stocked. The store was clean and tidy and though our shopper came across one or two restocking trolleys, they did not create any obstructions.

Our shopper was impressed by the well-stocked and well-staffed counters. Some shop floor staff were not wearing uniforms, which made it difficult to distinguish them from customers. However, staff were very helpful in general and our shopper said she would consider shopping at the store more regularly in the future.

Asda in Basingstoke took third spot with 63 points despite poor availability. There were six out-of-stocks along with two no-stocked items. The store was bright, clean and tidy. The aisles were generally wide enough for everyone to move around easily. However there was some congestion in the chilled areas, which our shopper put down to all of the fridges having doors, which she thought made it harder to see all the products and meant shoppers took longer picking up items.

There were plenty of staff available and they were all helpful and friendly. One member saw a product was out of stock but said she knew it was in the storeroom and went to retrieve it for our shopper.

Waitrose in Fulham managed just 48 points. This was not helped by three out-of-stocks and three not-stocked items. Our shopper felt the service she received from staff was mixed. She said the dress code was not clear, as many staff had no uniform or name badges. There was one member of staff who was very helpful on two occasions when called upon. However, several others did not seem happy to help and appeared rude.

Someone smoking in the entrance to Sainsbury’s in Clitheroe got our shopper off on the wrong foot. The store scored 47 points and again service was an issue. One member of the team sent her to a wrong aisle and the checkout operator “was very matter of fact and unhelpful”. In terms of availability there was one out-of-stock and seven not-stocked items.