Waitrose in Caversham  SapnaOdlinPhotography

Source: SapnaOdlinPhotography

Waitrose in Caversham offered some of the best availability this week

Waitrose Caversham came top of the leaderboard in this week’s festive party shop with a score of 80.

The Friday evening shop started off well with an excellent, well-lit car park. There were multiple trolley stations and the car park lines had recently been repainted.

On entrance, the store was immediately enticing, with attractive promotional offers and displays. The food-to-go section was full with several appealing lines.

The store signage was also clear, and the aisles were wide enough for more than one trolley to pass.

Staff on the checkouts, meanwhile, were polite and handled the products with care.

Waitrose was also one of the best stores for availability in a low-scoring week. Three items were out of stock, and one was not stocked.

Rivals lagged some distance behind Waitrose this week. Second place went to Asda Old Kent Road with 60 points.

The car park was poorly lit, and our shopper felt unsafe when it was dark.

On the plus side, plenty of staff were around to help our shopper, and all offered to help find what she was looking for. One was extremely helpful, offering to check the stockroom without being asked.

Store standards were let down by quite a few empty shelves and a lot of cardboard boxes on the floor. At the checkout, the assistant did not acknowledge our shopper at all.

Finally, availability was poor: eight items were out of stock and one not stocked.

Morrisons and Sainsbury’s came joint third with 57 points.

Morrisons Wokingham was a “crowded store” that gave a bad first impression. Our shopper felt some sections were on top of each other, and the layout was difficult to understand.

Staff were excellent, however: everyone our shopper spoke to either found the requested item or checked their handheld device for stock.

On the availability front, two items were out of stock, with three not stocked.

At Sainsbury’s Tadley, our shopper noted several bare areas in the fruit & veg section. The store seemed a little tired and lots of leaves and other debris were collected near the front of the store.

The Bakery counter had also sold out of a lot of freshly baked products.

Shop floor service was mixed. Plenty of staff were restocking across the store, but they were careful to keep their trollies close. Assistants were helpful and did look into stock availability, but only after first telling our shopper “if it’s not there, we don’t stock it”.

At checkout, there were only two manned tills, one of which was closed. However, it took only a couple of minutes for our shopper to be served and the checkout assistant was very helpful, “kind and chatty”.

Three items were out of stock, and two not stocked.

Last place went to Tesco Stoke-on-Trent with 53 points. The store appeared “old” and in need of refurbishment. There were a few gaps on the shelves but no sign of any restocking taking place.

On the plus side, the store was clean, litter-free and well laid out. And although finding staff was difficult, when our shopper did find an assistant, she was pleasant, polite and helpful.

There were plenty of tills open. The checkout assistant was “smart as a pin” and very pleasant, taking his time so our shopper could pack with care.

Three items were out of stock, while two were not stocked.