What's In Store

Why Publix is tied as America’s favorite grocery store

The New Publix South End is set to open this Saturday in Charlotte, NC on April 16, 2015.
The New Publix South End is set to open this Saturday in Charlotte, NC on April 16, 2015. jkomer@charlotteobserver.com

Publix is relatively new to Charlotte, but the grocery store is apparently very popular with shoppers nationwide.

The Florida-based chain is tied with New York-based Wegmans as America’s favorite supermarket, according to a survey of 12,700 shoppers that was released this week by the research firm Market Force Information. Not far behind at No. 3 is Trader Joe’s, which has three stores in the Charlotte metro.

Publix, which entered the Charlotte market with a store in Ballantyne in 2014, has ranked No. 2 for the last four years, according to the survey. Publix and Wegmans this year both scored a 77 percent on Market Force’s customer loyalty index. Trader Joe’s scored 76 percent.

According to the survey, which was conducted in March, customers said being able to find grocery items they were looking for set Publix apart. Customers also said Publix has the cleanest stores and fastest checkout speeds. Trader Joe’s, customers said, has the most courteous cashiers.

Courtesy of Market Force Information.

Aldi, which is in the midst of expanding its Charlotte presence, ranked No. 4, with a 68 percent customer loyalty score, thanks to its low costs. Matthews-based Harris Teeter ranked No. 5, with a loyalty score of 66 percent.

Wal-Mart – which, if you account for Neighborhood Markets, Supercenters and Sam’s Clubs, is Charlotte’s biggest grocer – ranked dead last in the survey, with a customer loyalty score of 31 percent.

Competition in Charlotte’s grocery industry keeps heating up. Harris Teeter is the area’s No. 1 grocer by market share, though Publix has been muscling in on the homegrown retailer’s turf.

Wegmans has been pushing into the Raleigh-Durham market, though the grocer has said it has no plans yet to build in Charlotte.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta