Waitrose High Wycombe

Waitrose in High Wycombe offered ‘clean and well stocked’ counters

Waitrose Marlow Hill took the store of the week crown in a Friday evening mystery shop that was marked by low availability.

Our mystery shopper was able to pick up 30 of the 33 items on our list at the High Wycombe store – and none of the three missing items were stocked in the store.

Overall, the branch racked up 77 points thanks to a shopping trip that was described as pleasant from start to finish. The car park was easy to get around and the entrance was decked out with attractive floral displays.

Our shopper was also impressed by the numerous counters that were all “clean and well stocked” – themes she detected across the store.

She spotted lots of promotional activity on the end of aisles, many of which were for items on our shopping list. This certainly tied in with a much more competitive performance from Waitrose in terms of pricing this week.

The logical layout meant most items were easy to find, but when called upon staff were very helpful. Indeed one member of the team went to great lengths to find the missing cake, which eventually turned out to be a not stocked item.

Second-placed Morrisons in Sittingbourne would have been in contention for the victory had it not been for disappointing availability. Its overall total of 72 points was hampered by five out-of-stock items, meaning it didn’t get any marks for this section.

Our shopper was “pleasantly surprised” by the standards of the “airy, spacious, clean and tidy” store, while staff were happy to take her to the items she needed help finding.

Sainsbury’s in Salisbury also fell down on availability. It did not stock seven of the items on our list and, with the addition of one out of stock, our shopper left with just 25 products.

The store still managed to score 67 due to a bright and clean appearance.

However, there were some empty shelves and our shopper noted restocking trolleys causing obstructions in the aisles – one of which was seemingly abandoned in the fruit & veg section.

The staff our shopper approached and others she observed were “polite, cheerful and helpful”. They did not check if products were in the storeroom, but seemed confident that if products were not on the shelves then they wouldn’t be there. The checkout operator was also “friendly and professional”.

Tesco’s Dragon Lane store in Durham scored 62 points. Availability was an issue, with three out-of-stocks and two not-stocked items. Our shopper noted particular gaps in the fruit & veg area.

The store layout was easy to navigate overall. When needed, staff were helpful and looked up items on their handheld tablet to confirm they were no longer stocked. Although one member of staff was restocking shelves, this was being carried out “in a neat manner” and not causing any obstructions. Overall our shopper rated this “a good shopping experience”.

Asda’s Hyde supermarket managed a score of just 47. This wasn’t helped by poor availability: there were four out-of-stocks and two not-stocked items.

Staff were generally friendly and helpful, but the main issue was their lack of presence on the shop floor. She also got the impression customers were being forced towards the self-service tills. Despite this being a large superstore, only two regular checkouts were open. Our shopper also found the operator to be “very impersonal”.