For retailers, image is everything
Grocery shoppers consider food purchases with all five senses, but smell has got to be one of the strongest, particularly in the fresh seafood department. If funky odors are present, it is almost guaranteed that sales will slide. So it was refreshing to see U.S. supermarkets recognized for the quality of their perishables, their stores’ cleanliness and reasonable prices in Consumer Reports’ annual supermarket rankings.
Wegmans was the top retailer, garnering high scores for service, perishables and cleanliness, followed by Trader Joe’s and Publix Super Markets. Rounding out the list of top 10 supermarkets in the nation were: Fareway Stores, Costco, Harris Teeter, Market Basket, Raley’s, Hy-Vee and Stater Bros.
Executives with three of the top 10 grocery chains revealed the reasons behind the stores’ and seafood departments’ success. Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee, for example, achieved top scores in cleanliness, service and perishables, and was also ranked average on price. The cleanliness of Hy-Vee’s stores, the quality of its fresh seafood and appearance of its seafood department is what keeps shoppers loyal to the chain, says Ruth Comer, assistant VP of media relations for Hy-Vee.
“As an employee-owned company, employees take pride in keeping a clean, neat store, and it is very ingrained in our culture and employee training,” says Comer. “If the department does not appear to be clean, customers will not trust that you are handling products the way you should be. We don’t want customers to notice any type of seafood odors in the department.”