Waitrose was a clear winner in the first mystery shop of 2020 as the supermarkets struggled after the end of the ‘golden quarter’ to get back to business as usual.

Our shopper found Waitrose in Preston to be “relatively quiet” on this Friday evening shop, with staff working hard to restock empty shelves, especially in some sections that were “very depleted”. Three items were not stocked by the retailer.

Asda in Lewisham also managed 30 items, but staff were equally busy restocking the aisles. They were “generally helpful”, but our shopper struggled to navigate past restocking trolleys at times. She also found the small store to have an “unusual” layout.

The rest of the retailers lost marks for poor availability in the aftermath of Christmas and the new year, with Sainsbury’s missing nine lines (four out of stock and five not stocked) and Morrisons and Tesco out of stock on five.

Sainsbury’s in Glasgow also had restocking trolleys littering the aisles and our mystery shopper spent a lot of time navigating empty shelves in search of products. However, staff were “very helpful” when checking for items.

A “rather dishevelled” Morrisons in Waterlooville was full of empty packaging and boxes throughout the store and the staff were focused more on stacking shelves than customer service.

Tesco in Reading was plagued with the same problems, with our shopper finding the milk alternatives fridge “completely strewn” with empty boxes. Staff also directed her to the wrong section in search of products.