Waitrose Wilmslow

Waitrose Wilmslow provided ‘a very pleasant Saturday morning shop’

Just seven marks separated the first four stores in what was for the most part a solid week in terms of service and availability.

It was Waitrose’s Wilmslow branch that took the store of week title as its score of 80 edged out Asda in Telford by just a single point.

There were no out-of-stocks and our shopper was only prevented from taking home a full shopping trolley due to two not-stocked items.

Our shopper enjoyed her visit which she called a “very pleasant Saturday morning shop”. There was plenty of space to navigate the aisles and see the displays, and she appreciated the calm and quiet atmosphere.

It was initially difficult to find staff but as her shop progressed more colleagues started to appear on the shopfloor. She required assistance from three members of the team. One told her where to look, another led her to the correct item and the third offered to check availability at other local stores. All were “very personable”.

Asda also had two not-stocked lines, while one out-of-stock saw our shopper pick up 30 items. There was a fair bit of shelf stacking taking place, but staff were careful to avoid cluttering aisles. This did mean there was always staff on hand to deal with any queries. Like Waitrose, staff were “all really good and helpful”. They either knew where the item was or if they didn’t they asked someone who did or offered alternatives.

Tesco in Dungannon bagged 76 points with two out-of-stocks the main reason it didn’t take the win this week. Our shopper felt this was a “great store with very attractive displays and very helpful and friendly staff”. This included the staff member who checked the stockroom to try and find a missing item and the “lovely and very friendly” checkout operator.

Morrisons in Verwood provided our shopper with 31 items as there was one out-of-stock and one not-stocked product. Our shopper found the store “very well laid out and intuitive” as it scored 73 points.

All aisles were wide, and there was plenty of room. The only thing our shopper found confusing was the use of the back wall for important essential items. As the store got busier, our shopper found staff harder to find. When she did find someone it “always seemed to be one particular young lady who was very helpful”.

The outlier when it came to scoring this week was Sainsbury’s in Hayes, which managed just 54 points. This was despite strong availability, with one out-of-stock meaning our shopper just missed out on a full trolley.

The store was essentially let down by poor standards and disappointing levels of customer service. It all started really well with our shopper describing the store entrance as “super impressive, uncluttered and beautifully curated with plants and flowers and loads of space”. But then she ran into lots of abandoned stocking trolleys that were blocking even the widest of aisles. In the meat section there were four of them. Later, two members of staff wheeled in a “gigantic pallet” of cardboard boxes and proceeded to crash it into the fridges. These were some of only a few staff our shopper managed to see. When she tracked down others, “they weren’t especially engaged or helpful”.

The problems continued to the checkouts, where just six of the 30 were staffed, leading to a queue time of more than 20 minutes at the tills. When she was finished, our shopper looked back to see a queue of eight shoppers behind her.