Consumers rank best and worst grocery stores

Customer satisfaction and loyalty are high for grocery chains Wegmans, Trader Joe's, Publix and Fareway, according to a recent study by Consumer Reports.

Customer satisfaction and loyalty are high for grocery chains Wegmans, Trader Joe's, Publix and Fareway, according to a recent study by Consumer Reports. Those four ranked highest out of the 52 major national stores. However, the study found that even the highest-ranked stores were subject to customer criticism.

"One-third of subscribers we surveyed ... said they had given the heave-ho to a nearby grocery store," the report states, according to The Columbus Dispatch. "Forty-three percent fired a grocer in search of lower prices; about 25 percent cited poor selection, long lines or lousy food; 17 percent blamed employee rudeness; 14 percent, the crowds."

The biggest complaint for all customers was not enough open checkouts. More than one-quarter of surveyed consumers said this was a problem. Out-of-stock items and cluttered aisles were also highly-cited issues.

Walmart, Pathmark and Pick 'n Save were the hardest hit by the survey. They fell to the bottom of the list for frequently cited problems, including spotty pricing, confusing layouts, indifferent employees and long lines at checkouts. To keep customers coming back, stores like Trader Joe's and Costco offer clean stores with high-quality products at low prices. Trader Joe's received an overall customer satisfaction score of 86 out of 100, considering price, cleanliness, perishables and service.