ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Publix Super Markets  led all retailers in customer satisfaction ratings in 2012, according to results of the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
Publix, based in Lakeland, Fla., scored 86 on the index, highest among retailers in eight channels of trade measured by ACSI. Publix’s score represented a 2.4% increase from 2011. Overall, supermarkets as a channel improved by 1.3% to 77 on the survey.
“Low price inflation for food products in 2012, combined with better service, product selection and store layouts, yields success in the form of enhanced customer satisfaction for supermarkets,” Clasis Fornell, SSCI founder, said in a statement.
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Whole Foods Market  (ASCI score 80; flat with 2011); and Kroger  (79; flat) followed Publix among supermarket ranked by ACSI. In other results, Winn-Dixie  improved 4% to 78; and Supervalu  was up 2.7% to 76. Wal-Mart Stores  was the industry’s top percentage gainer in 2012, but its 4.3% improvement brought it to 72, lowest among supermarkets ranked by ACSI.
ACSI bases its results on 70,000 consumer interviews. It said companies that display high levels of customer satisfaction tend to have higher earnings and stock returns relative to competitors. It also said customer satisfaction is predictive of both consumer spending and gross domestic product growth.
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