Tesco fruit and veg flowers fresh aisle

Source: Mystery shopper

Tesco has picked up its first Grocer 33 store of the week award since mid-December.

Its Hookwood store in Horley scored 87 points thanks to strong in-store standards and customer service.

Our shopper was pleased to see plenty of clean trolleys and hand sanitiser and felt safe when he arrived.

Although he felt there were too many shoppers in the store, he was able to maintain social distancing thanks to its wide aisles and staff efforts to push restocking trolleys aside.

Plenty of team members were around the store and were “helpful” throughout our shopper’s trip, too.

There was only a short queue for the checkout and the cashier was efficient but not chatty. Availability was also good with just one out-of-stock item.

In second-placed Sainsbury’s Wrexham, our shopper was pleased to see marshals greeting and counting customers as well as good sanitiser stations in the entrance to the store.

Signage was “helpful” and the team was glad to point her in the direction of items she couldn’t spot. She did have to double back a handful of times to find items on our list, but was able to locate and buy all items bar two out-of-stocks.

Our shopper was disappointed by the five-minute wait to pay but heaped praise on the team for how well they monitored the queues.

Morrisons and Waitrose came joint third with 63 points each.

Morrisons Cambuslang, Glasgow, gave our shopper a negative first impression because of the lack of staff presence at its entrance and absence of small trolleys.

Restocking cages were “everywhere”, blocking many aisles and “forcing customers to queue to get around them”.

That was mitigated by excellent customer service. Although the majority of employees were focused on picking for online orders, they were happy to pause their duties to help customers.

In terms of availability, there was one out-of-stock and three not-stocked items.

Waitrose in Newcastle upon Tyne got full marks for its standout customer service on the shop floor and dropped just one point for service on the tills.

Our shopper’s experience began with a five-minute wait to find a space in a city centre car park owing to the branch, which is in the Eldon Square shopping centre, not having one of its own.

She was pleased to see a wide selection of “well presented” items on its service counters.

On the other hand, Waitrose had the lowest availability with four out-of-stock and 10 not-stocked SKUs. This was a relatively small supermarket and our shopper felt it would have been difficult to do a weekly shop at the store.

Asda on Smithdown Road, Liverpool, took last place with 61 marks owing to poorly managed safety protocols.

Social distancing was particularly tough to maintain around its entrance because of intertwining entrance and exit queues as well as empty boxes and replenishment trolleys abandoned in its aisles. Its huge displays of beer and tinned goods were also “cluttered”.

However, shelves were generally well stocked and tidy. Our shopper noted the store layout was “logical” and there were plenty of “tempting” seasonal offers. Our shopper left without one item as it was not stocked.

The team was hard at work filling shelves but happy to help our shopper locate products and came across as “polite, professional and friendly”.


This week’s results:

WEEK 38: Friday 12/03/2021 (9am - 11am)    WINNER
  Asda Morrisons Sainsbury’s Tesco Waitrose 
Location Liverpool Cambuslang Wrexham Hookwood, Horley  Newcastle Upon Tyne
Date  12/03/2021 12/03/2021 12/03/2021 12/03/2021 13/03/2021
Time slot  9am - 11am 9am - 11am 9am - 11am 9am - 11am 9am - 11am
Shop starts 9:10am 10:20am 10:05am 10:15pm 09:28am
Visit Duration 01:09 00:59 00:57 00:55 00:42
Shop Duration 01:13 00:59 01:05 01:00 01:12
Car Park  (10) 8 7 7 10 3
Car park management (3) 2 1 2 3 2
Queueing time to park and finding a parking space (2) 2 2 2 2 0
Exiting the car park (2) 2 1 2 2 0
After exiting your car please rate your experience before entering the store? (3) 2 3 1 3 1
Feedback  There were plenty of spaces to park as well as available trolley stations. These were neatly stacked. Disabled bay and parent/child parking was clearly marked. Outside the main entrance were entry/exit barriers but it was still difficult not to bump into someone as on the way in you were in the same space as someone who had just come out. No small trolleys available outside the store and no attendants Would say under half capacity, saw one person dealing with trolleys Easy to park plus lots of trolleys available N/A
Store standards (20) 8 10 12 19 16
First impression (6) 2 4 2 6 6
Displays (4) 2 2 2 3 3
Fruit & vegetables section (3) 2 1 2 3 2
Store standards - remaining sections (3) 0 1 2 3 2
Obstractions (2) 0 0 2 2 1
Spillages (2) 2 2 2 2 2
Feedback All around the store in several places I noticed trolleys and empty cardboard boxes piling up, just left there. Even trolleys full of empty cardboard boxes had been left at the end of aisles. On a couple of occasions I went to turn down an aisle and realised there was a restocking trolley or two right in the way in the middle of the aisle, so I had to turn back and go around another way. I noticed that when restocking was taking place sometimes the trolleys were in the middle of the aisle, when they could have been moved closer towards the shelves so customers could get past more easily.
There was a small amount of litter on the floor but not much, otherwise the store appeared clean. Shelves appeared well stocked and tidy.
Packing trolleys everywhere.  Mostly manned but blocking aisles and forcing customers to queue to get around them. 
A lot of empty shelves and many items not stocked
Entry to store well managed with sanitiser, security person visible as well as staff in high vis With the store being busy it still felt easy to find my items and was plenty of choices on the shelfs This store was very quiet
Store layout and services (10) 5 6 5 8 5
Did the store layout seem logical and intuitive? (4) 4 3 2 4 2
Available services (6) 1 3 3 4 3
Feedback The store signage and layout were very good. It was easy to find the items on my shopping list and I didn’t find myself having to backtrack to find the right aisle.  As for services, there is a customer service and lottery desk, toilets, pharmacy, opticians and an in-store bakery, although this isn’t a counter service, the staff are in the background and the products put on the shelves for you to take your own. The food to go, bakery, deli, salad bar and pizza had one member of staff Easy layout, did have to double back a few times All the fresh products where on offer and had members of staff wanting to help. It was good to see the meat / fish counters and deli counters looking well presented
Shop Floor Service (20) 12 20 18 18 20
Finding a member of staff (5) 3 5 5 5 5
Shop floor staff helpfulness in locating items  (5) 2 5 3 5 5
Shop floor staff  diligence and hard work in replenishing shelves and picking in-store orders  (5) 3 5 5 4 5
Staff presentation (5) 4 5 5 4 5
Feedback Shop floor staff were certainly busy with their restocking trolleys. They all looked hard at work. I asked one young male colleague for help in the veg section and he was able to answer my question straight away, with a friendly smile and an apology for the fact the item I wanted is hardly ever stocked. I was assisted by two other colleagues who were polite and pointed me in the right direction by telling me which aisle number to go to. Staff were all smart and professional Most staff appeared to be completing on line/click and collect orders so were very helpful I asked for assistance in fruit/veg, was shown to where item should be and told if it is not on shelf then out of stock did not find a label for the item on the shelf.  Plenty of staff around. Always helpful although a few wasn’t in full uniform. I would just like to mention the security guard who was very helpful to me when I had a problem with my trolley
Tills and checkouts (20) 10 10 13 16 19
Rate how well managed were the queues leading to the tills? Were a sufficient number of checkouts open for the volume of staff? Were staff on hand to advise on checkouts with shorter queues, or manage social distancing (5) 2 5 5 4 5
How long did you have to queue? (5) 0 0 0 5 5
Please rate checkout staff on their customer service (8) 6 3 6 5 7
 Was the till receipt free of mistakes? (2) 2 2 2 2 2
Feedback I could not see any staff managing the checkout, it was left to customers to keep to the markings on the floor, which they did. There were lots of empty unmanned tills and queues of customers waiting in the aisles. I was called forward by the checkout operator as soon as it was possible to keep a safe distance from the customer in front. My shopping was scanned swiftly yet carefully, I paid and was handed my receipt which upon checking was free of mistakes. 7 out of 12 checkouts were in use.  6 self serve unmanned with customers waiting for assistant. Very pleasant, distancin rules adherred to The staff member on the till wasn’t as friendly as the floor staff. Wasn’t to interested to communicate and did’t ask if I had a club card. N/A
Availability score (20) 18 10 12 16 0
 Of the 33 items on your shopping list how many were:           
Available  32 29 31 32 19
Out of stock (-4 per item) 0 1 2 1 4
Not stocked (-2 per item) 1 3 0 0 10
Number of items bought (incl.subs) 32 29 32 32 33
Availability % 100.0 96.7 93.9 97.0 82.6
Please note down the items on your shopping list that were out of stock (please highlight the products that have managed to get a satisfactory substitutions) N/A Product 1: Own label unsalted butter Product 1: Passionfruit - not substituted
Product 2: Basmati Rice 2kg - substituted 1kg
Product 1: Ready to eat dried apricots Product 1: Own Label Roast Chicken Drumsticks
Product 2: Own label ready to eat dried apricots 500g
Product 3: Own Label Baby Corn 175g
Product 4: Actimel 0% fat original x 12
Please note down the items on your shopping list that were not stocked (please highlight the products that have managed to get a satisfactory substitutions)  Product 1: Chinese leaf lettuce Product 1: 7 Up free cherry 2000ml
Product 2: President Double Brie 200g
Product 3: Gallo family vineyards summer rose 750ml
N/A N/A Product 1: 7up Free Cherry 2000ml
Product 2: Heinz Chicken Cup Soup 68g
Product 3: Granny Smiths 5-7 pack
Product 4: Chinese Leaf Lettuce
Product 5: Dr Oetker Ristorante Pizza Pollo
Product 6: Gallo Family Vineyards Summer Rose 750ml
Product 7: Fruitella Juicy Chews 170g
Product 8: Schar Gluten Free Waffles
Product 9: Own Label Basmati Rice 2000g
Product 10: Fairy Platinum All in One 25’s
Please give any other details or info about your shopping trip, good or bad My feelings are mixed on this. The store did feel a bit cluttered. There are displays of boxes of beer and some tinned foods piled up high and taking up quite a lot of space almost as soon as you walk in. I was also surprised at the amount of empty boxes piling up in the aisles, it didn’t give a great impression. The actual job of getting all the shopping on my list though was very easy and I was able to get all but one item, so that part went very smoothly. One customer not wearing a mask properly (under her chin) who was picking up all the items and asking all the staff for help was very disconcerting.  No member of staff asked her to fix her mask.  Aisles packed with trolleys forced customers to queue so not everyone was keeping to social distancing guidelines.  I wouldn’t shop at this time again.  Obviously, a very popular time for home delivery orders being prepared. Overall was happy to shop in Sainsbury’s, felt quite safe. Did not have any negative.  The flower display for Mother’s Day was particularly attractive at the front of the store Overall it was a good shopping trip. Easy to get in and out of the store, lots of choice on offer and friendly staff. This is a really lovely store, however it is very small and often doesn’t have what you are looking for. I actually used to get my weekly shop delivered from this store, and due to them being unable to fulfill orders, they actually started fulfilling deliveries from a store 32 miles away!
TOTAL SCORE (100) 61 63 67 87 63