The folks who run supermarkets spend a lot of time and money studying how to sell more groceries and household products. Now, Consumer Reports has conducted their own survey to determine how effective supermarkets are, and the results are published in an article titled “Best & Worst Supermarkets,” published in the May issue.

Consumer Reports, the magazine published by Consumers Union since 1936 with a circulation of 7.3 million, surveyed 24,200 readers about 42,700 shopping experiences at 52 leading grocers. The study found more than half of shoppers that say they have at least one complaint about their current store, and almost two thirds have two or more complaints.

According to Consumer Reports, the stores with the five highest ratings were:

  1. Wegmans
  2. Trader Joe’s
  3. Publix
  4. Fareway Stores
  5. Costco

Receiving the lowest ratings in Consumer Reports survey were:

  1. Pathmark
  2. Wal-Mart Supercenter
  3. Shaw’s
  4. A&P
  5. Jewel-Osco

All of the highest-rated stores received high marks for service and cleanliness. The most common complaint among shoppers was a shortage of checkout lanes, cited by about 25 percent in the survey. Survey respondents also complained about congested or cluttered aisles, advertised specials that were out of stock and inept bagging.

Grocery prices also remain important as 43 percent of those surveyed said they had switched grocers because they were looking for lower prices.

Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest grocer, received high marks for its prices, but earned the next-to-lowest overall score due to low customer ratings on service and for its perishables.

Interestingly, the stores that earned the highest overall ratings in the survey received the worst price ratings. They made up for those low marks with high scores in service and cleanliness.