Customer service and availability were a mixed bag this week, but Waitrose in Chesham gave itself the winning edge with a "lovely and clean store that was a pleasure to shop in".

Staff went out of their way to be helpful, escorting our shopper to several items. One assistant even checked out the back for the Flora Light and apologised for not having any in stock. Better still, there were no queues.

Sainsbury's in Hamilton also impressed, but it took our shopper some time to locate all the items because staff did not guide him physically to the right aisle. The store did boast strong availability, however, and the checkout assistant was friendly.

Tesco's Failsworth branch was another store with strong availability. However, the shelf price of the quiche lorraine was different to that on the receipt and there was a lot of litter outside the store.

Packing trolleys clogged the aisles at Asda in Colchester. An assistant helped locate the pork pies, but another did not know where the pitta bread was. He said he would find it, but never returned. However, the checkout assistant was helpful and offered to pack.

Morrisons in Warminster had two out-of-stock items and the staff were described as "fairly helpful, but not outstanding". The aisles were free of packing trolleys and the helpful checkout assistant packed our shopper's bags.

Winner: Stuart Gibbon, store manager, Waitrose, Chesham

Your staff proved the most helpful. Why are they so motivated? Because they are part of the partnership. Some staff have been here for years and really care about what they do. Every sale is key and no two days are the same here. Because of the economic downturn, everyone works really hard to maximise their self potential by encouraging customers to try new products.

Waitrose is the most-suited retailer to Chesham, according to CACI. Who are your nearest competitors? We have a large Sainsbury's just across the road. There is also a big Tesco and an M&S Simply Food in Amersham. I think we compete well, particularly against Sainsbury's. Our store is smaller, which means shoppers can get around more easily and quickly. They come to us for our high level of customer service and quality of produce.

How is the Rolling Warehouse initiative going? We removed lots of racks from the warehouse and now keep many of our products in cages so they can be moved around and wheeled out. It's been fantastic - it has considerably improved availability and efficiency within the store.

What products are selling particularly well at the moment? We have seen an uplift in meat - our forgotten cuts are doing particularly well. There has also been a strong take-up on our meal deal lines, where customers can buy a starter, main, side, dessert and wine for two people for £10. Our Essential Waitrose range has also been positively received - customers can clearly see our entry price point into the market.

How are your self-scanners faring? Really well. We are the number one branch for sales on Quick Check and we really pride ourselves upon it. We were the first branch to achieve 30% of our shoppers' weekly spend using the system and on average achieve 28% to 29%. Shoppers scan the items as they shop and put them straight into a bag to then take them to the Quick Pay unit, which then calculates their shopping bill. They have to register their credit card to use the system and we offer different incentives throughout the year, such as money off food bills, to encourage them to use them.