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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Supermarket shoppers are a bit more satisfied with the quality of goods and services they're getting than they were a year ago, according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of precuts and services available to household consumers in the United States.
The ACSI is produced by the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, in partnership with the American Society for Quality and CFI Group, and supported in part by ForeSee Results, e-commerce co-sponsor.
The aggregate score for the supermarket industry is up one point to 74 on the ACSI's 100-point scale, according to the research. Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart, meanwhile, trails the grocery category for the second year in a row, with a score of 70.
Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix Super Markets leads the supermarket category in satisfaction by a considerable margin with a score of 81, followed by Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Supervalu at 77.
The ACSI is updated each quarter with new measures for different sectors of the economy replacing data from the prior year. During the fourth quarter, the ACSI measures customer satisfaction with the quality of products and services in retail, financial services, and e-commerce. The overall ACSI score for a given quarter factors in scores from more than 200 companies in 42 industries and from government agencies over the previous four quarters.
The retail sector, as measured by the index, includes supermarkets, department and discount stores, specialty retail stores, and gas stations. This year, the ACSI also added health & personal care stores.
The overall retail sector had a slight decline to 72.4, a decrease of 0.3 percent, still well below its all-time high of 75.7 achieved in the first year of measurement in 1994.
The health & personal care retail industry makes its debut at 76, highest of all the measured industries in the retail sector. High quality of service in the category leads to higher overall satisfaction, and the range within the category is fairly tight compared to the spread of scores in other industries. There is little variation between Walgreen's (76) at the top and Rite Aid (72) at the bottom, with CVS falling in the middle (74).