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ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Despite intense competition, a challenging labor climate and an increasingly demanding American public, hard work appears to be paying off for the nation's supermarket operators. In a new consumer poll comparing various industries, the retail grocery business received the most positive -- and lowest negative -- scores.
Harris Interactive conducted a nationwide telephone survey among 1,010 U.S. adults between April 5 and 10, 2005. It asked a cross-section of U.S. adults whether supermarkets are generally doing "a good job or a bad job of serving their consumers." Fully 92 percent of adults said they think supermarkets generally do a good job, while only eight percent think they do a bad job, giving sector a net positive score (i.e. good job minus bad job) of 84 percentage points.
Aside from supermarkets, other industries that also received what Harris terms "overwhelmingly high net scores," are:
-- computer hardware companies (74 points positive)
-- online search engines (68 points positive)
-- computer software companies (67 points positive)
-- packaged food companies (67 points positive)
-- airlines (62 points positive)
-- hospitals (59 points positive)
-- banks (57 points positive)
-- online retailers (51 points positive)
-- Internet service providers (51 points positive)
-- electric and gas utilities (50 points positive)
At the other end of the spectrum, the industries with the worst net scores are:
-- oil companies (36 points negative)
-- tobacco companies (28 points negative)
-- health insurance companies (19 points negative)
-- managed care companies (13 points negative)
Additional industries measured by the survey include: life insurance companies (44 points positive), telephone companies (42 points positive), investment and brokerage firms (35 points positive), car manufacturers (34 points positive), cable companies (28 points positive) and pharmaceutical companies (13 points positive).
The only industry to score worse this year than last year is the oil industry, presumably reflecting the public's displeasure with high gasoline prices.
Harris Interactive started the poll in 1997. Over the years, the numbers of industries covered has increased, but for those with long-term trends, the biggest changes have all been downward, particularly for oil companies; pharmaceuticals; health insurance and managed care companies; and telephone companies.