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Waitrose tops satisfaction survey

Waitrose has topped an annual supermarket satisfaction survey while budget stores Lidl and Aldi have again outperformed the "big four", according to a consumer watchdog.

The Which? survey of more than 12,000 members placed Waitrose in the top spot for the second year running, receiving a score of 85% and praise for making shopping a "pleasurable experience".

The Co-operative was ranked lowest with a score of 46%.

The "big four" supermarkets - Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons - failed to impress customers as much as budget alternatives Aldi and Lidl, who scored 65% and 64% respectively. Both received five out of five stars for pricing.

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said: "Once again, Waitrose has come out top in our rigorous supermarket survey, delivering on quality, service, range and store environment.

"People are still on the lookout for a bargain though, as Aldi and Lidl's performance shows. Beating well-known stores Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons, they've proven that supermarkets don't need to be a market leader to score well with customers."

Waitrose achieved the top five stars for everything apart from price, where it scored only three. However, "many of you clearly think it's worth it", Which? reported.

Which? said The Co-operative appeared to struggle with its range and the availability of products, and scored badly for special offers and value for money. Shoppers were also not keen on the in-store environment. However, some of those surveyed said they liked the chain's ethical stance and its range of Fairtrade products.

A spokeswoman for The Co-operative Group said: "These results need to be set in context. Throughout 2010 our food store network was in the midst of major upheaval as we continued to integrate Somerfield stores, refitting hundreds of outlets in the process. These changes to ranges, systems and processes covered both Somerfield and Co-operative stores and involved major retraining exercises for our staff.

"However, improvements to our own-brand ranges and our investment in staff are already showing through in the results of this survey. We continue to invest heavily in improving all aspects of our offer, including our price proposition."

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