Luxury food retailer Waitrose has been named the UK’s top supermarket, beating last year’s winner Aldi, according to an annual survey of British shoppers.
Consumer group Which? said demand for good quality products saw other high end supermarkets, such as Marks & Spencer, score highly up the list – while conversely, discounters like Aldi and Lidl also did well.
The Big Four – Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Asda – scored comparatively poorly, as did the Co-operative Group, which was ranked lowest. Waitrose, which has six stores north of the Border, with a seventh under construction in Milngavie, won a customer satisfaction score of 73 per cent, with consumers singling out the “helpfulness and availability” of its staff as particularly good. Its “tidy” stores were also a reason it was ranked highly, while its only weakness is on value for money.
The report said: “Shoppers told us that value and good quality food products are the most important factors in choosing where to shop. The high regard in which shoppers hold Aldi, Iceland and Lidl has translated into sales, too.”
Aldi scored 72 per cent, with price a major driving factor. Iceland, Lidl and Marks & Spencer all achieved a score of 69 per cent. Meanwhile, the scores for the Big Four ranged from 60 per cent for Tesco – lauded for its range of fruit and vegetables, but deemed the least trustworthy supermarket – to 63 per cent for Morrisons and Sainsbury’s. Asda scored 62 per cent.
The report said Aldi had also performed highly in terms of quality. “Aldi has other merits aside from its pricing,” said the report. “Shoppers praise the quality of its fresh produce and own-label goods – only Waitrose and Marks & Spencer are rated higher for the latter.” However, it scored poorly for social and environmental responsibility.
The Co-operative Group scored worst overall at 49 per cent, with a particularly poor score for value for money.
Leigh Sparks, professor of retail studies at Stirling University, said both Waitrose and discount brands Aldi and Lidl had recently expanded into new markets, attracting a wider demographic of shoppers.
“They are opening in areas where they previously didn’t have a presence, whereas the Big Four have been opening in places where people are already aware of them,” he said.
“That is one factor which is making them popular. Secondly, they are both picking off opposite ends of the market of shoppers who are fed up with the Big Four – the top end of that group are going to Waitrose, which has extended its reach with a bigger range of Waitrose Essentials, their budget range – while the lower end have moved to Aldi and Lidl.”
A Co-operative spokeswoman said: “We continue to invest in price and are on course to deliver our strategy of providing real value for money to shoppers and excellent customer service.
“We understand all the elements required to be a first class convenience retailer and are confident in our ability to deliver these for our customers.”