M&S is best in disappointing trip to Scotland
UK Grocery Retailer Mystery Shopper: Edinburgh, March-2016

M&S is best in disappointing trip to Scotland

Tomm Leighton

Score Key

We travelled north of the border for the penultimate mystery shopping trip of the year and visited the beautiful Scottish capital city of Edinburgh.

M&S was the top scorer this month achieving the highest average score of the year.  Its store scored well on every element of our list of criteria.  Asda achieved the next highest score in Edinburgh; there was an interesting range of produce, which was well stocked and well signposted. What let Adsa down was that the store wasn’t very clean outside, although this was a common problem across many of the stores in Edinburgh, with quite a few of the stores we visited having a plethora of cigarette butts and bits of rubbish lying around outside the main entrances.

Tesco was more or less consistent with other locations in terms of stock levels and display and the member of staff was helpful and chatty. Similarly the employee in the Co-op was also helpful, pulling its overall score up.

Lidl scored the lowest in Edinburgh; the displays of fruit and vegetables and the cleanliness of the stores both inside and out were poor, even by what we have generally found to be Lidl’s standard.

Morrisons and Sainsbury’s both achieved the same score, there was generally a lack of stock and it was not well displayed and Waitrose was also guilty of not being well stocked and unusually for Waitrose, the produce appeared to have been somewhat thrown into place rather than neatly stacked.

As part of the mystery shopping research, England Marketing asks a different question of the fresh produce aisle staff each month. The question this month was:

I have just moved to Scotland. I was wondering whether in Scotland people look for British produce or just Scottish – my brother-in-law runs a farm in Kent?

Most of the staff approached were quite friendly and commented that they find customers ask for Scottish strawberries and raspberries in particular. The lady in Lidl clearly did not speak English and the gentleman in Sainsbury’s was not well informed.

Cumulative Findings to Date

Despite the low score in Edinburgh, Lidl just retains the top slot for being well stocked throughout the year with M&S and Morrisons close behind. Asda is still just ahead on promotions with M&S a very close second.

Vegetable and Fruit Displays


The Range of Vegetable and Fruit Available

Morrisons and Asda are level pegging in terms of the range of produce available for their shoppers with Waitrose just behind. The range in the Asda store in Edinburgh has contributed to Asda’s increased overall score. Co-op is still trailing in this category but that could be due to the stores being smaller than the other superstores. 


Promotion of Fresh Produce

In terms of promotion of fresh produce, again Morrisons continue to consistently lead in the rating for range of aisle ends, although their display is quite different to the other stores. Over the period of research, we have noticed that there appears to be fewer gondolas and these tend to feature herbs and flowers more than produce, per se.

Aisle End & Gondolas

The Store

Morrisons is still the leader overall for in-store fresh produce displays, despite achieving a low score during recent visits. Sainsbury’s and M&S still score the highest for cleanliness in-store although slightly less for cleanliness outside. Waitrose, M&S and Sainsbury’s are the leaders in the category for helpfulness of staff, with Co-op and Aldi trailing behind. 




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