Tesco wins with near excellent uptime, guest retailer Lidl comes in second | Grocery 33

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With 89 points, Tesco had an easy victory this week, with its Southend-on-Sea branch impressing with high stock levels, despite the supply challenges it – and the entire industry – is experiencing.

There were a few shortcomings, but in our list only mint tea bags were unavailable and staff were busy restocking shelves, although some unattended carts clogged customers.

Our client’s attention was also drawn to the attractive displays from Back to School and Finest BBQ Foods and the meat and fish counters looked “attractive”, but the Krispy Kreme cabinet was “scruffy”.

Our customer said that although there was another Tesco closer to her home, she would consider visiting this store in the future.

This week’s guest retailer Lidl came in second with 75 points. The Richmond branch was a “nice new store” with fairly good availability. None of our items were out of stock, but five were not in stock for a total of 28 items purchased.

The store was clean and tidy, but the staff were the highlight of the experience – “fantastic” in terms of knowledge, friendliness and work ethic.

Downside, the layout was awkward to navigate at times, and some products were placed illogically (shallots were far from onions). In addition, some sections were short of stock, such as the toilet paper shelf, the take out food counter, and the bakery.

Asda in Glasgow impressed with its “great selection”. Our client could not find four items, but noted that there were alternatives she could have opted for. The fruit and veg section had gaps but was “surprisingly large”. The store was also clean and easy to navigate, and while there was some construction going on near the customer service area, that didn’t pose a barrier.

The staff were all smartly dressed and wore face masks. They were friendly and able to help our client with her requests.

The Waitrose’s Basingstoke store was a “pleasant experience”. The lighting, temperature and sound levels contributed to a calm and pleasant atmosphere, and the promotional signage at the entrance caught our attention, as did the meat, fish and cheese counters.

And if there were a few voids on the shelves, the products were spaced in order to combat the empty spaces. She left the store with 28 of her necessary groceries as the two-liter Irn-Bru bottle was out of stock and four other items were not in stock.

Sainsbury’s of Bretton, Peterborough, had 58 points. One of the problems this branch encountered on Saturday morning was that the majority of the refrigerators were out of order, with the exception of the chicken section. The staff told our visitor that they were expecting an engineer.

There were also large gaps visible across the store, particularly in the soft drink aisle and bleach section.

Our customer could not find eight of the items on her list, but she noted the store’s friendly service.

Morrisons Birkenhead store also had availability issues. Our buyer noticed that five items were out of stock, while one was out of stock. The store layout was generally easy to follow, but she found herself backing up a few times to find some of her groceries.

On a positive note, the staff were helpful and outspoken about the lack of stock due to the shortage of drivers. And when her packet of rice tore at the checkout, our client quickly handed over another one.

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