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Consumer Reports recognizes Wegmans as country’s top supermarket

Wegmans is the best supermarket in the country, according to Consumer Reports magazine.

The magazine surveyed more than 27,000 readers about the service, quality of perishables, prices and cleanliness of the country’s major grocery chains. Those ratings landed Rochester-based Wegmans at the top of the heap, with an overall rating of 88 out of a possible 100.

“It is an honor to be recognized in such a big way,” said Mike Keating, senior vice president of Wegmans’ Buffalo division.

Wegmans got the highest-possible ratings for service, perishables and cleanliness, and the second-highest rating for prices. It got a special shout-out for its prepared foods and for having the fewest complaints among its customers.

“The credit goes to our employees. They make Wegmans a great place to work and shop, and for that I am very grateful,” Keating said.

Trader Joe’s, which opened its first Western New York store in Amherst in October, followed close behind at number two, with an overall rating of 87 out of 100. It got the highest possible ratings for service, prices and cleanliness, and the second-highest rating for perishables.

It’s the fourth consecutive year Wegmans and Trader Joe’s have been ranked near the top of the survey. Wegmans won the number one spot in 2009 and 2012. Both grocers got the highest possible scores for service, as judged by the courtesy of employees and checkout speed.

The top 5 was rounded out by Publix, Costco and Sprouts Farmers Market, none of which have locations in Western New York.

Amherst-based Tops Friendly Markets did not fare as well.

Tops ranked 50th out of 55 supermarket chains with an overall satisfaction rating of 72. It got neutral ratings for service, perishables and cleanliness, and the second-to-worst score for prices.

Tops said it regularly solicits customer feedback and strives to incorporate what shoppers ask for at every store.

“We have strong, healthy relationships with our neighbors, we care deeply about the communities we serve and are always looking for ways to improve our shoppers’ experiences – that includes asking for regular consumer feedback in a variety of ways,” said Kate McKenna, a Tops spokeswoman. “Our customers vote every day when they shop at Tops, and business has never been healthier.”

No-frills deep-discounter ALDI landed at number 11 on the list, with an overall score of 81. Target ranked at number 26 with a score of 77. Save-A-Lot ranked 28th with a score of 77. Sam’s Club ranked at 35 with a score of 76. BJ’s Wholesale Club ranked at 37 with a score of 75.

Once again, Walmart Supercenter ranked at the survey’s bottom, with an overall score of 67 out of 100. It got the worst possible ratings for service and perishables, the second-lowest rating for cleanliness and the second-highest rating for prices.

Consumer Reports noted that, while Walmart is often touted for its low prices, 8 out of the survey’s top 10 grocery stores scored equally as well or better than Walmart in terms of pricing – including Wegmans.

Walmart also “drew an especially high percentage of critics,” Consumer Reports said. The Arkansas-based mega-retailer got slammed for having the highest number of customer complaints, the most out-of-stocks, too few open checkout lanes and incomplete price labeling.