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Customer data science company dunnhumby is out with its seventh annual dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index (RPI), saying that H-E-B is the top US grocery retailer.

dunnhumby said that "H-E-B is the first grocery retailer to be recognized three times as number one in the RPI ranking surpassing Amazon and Trader Joe’s who both ranked as top grocer twice. Amazon (2) and Costco (3) round out the top three grocers in the U.S. for a second year in a row.

"The seven other retailers in the top 10 are: 4) Market Basket, 5) Sam’s Club, 6) Wegman’s, 7) Aldi, 8) Shoprite, 9) Walmart Neighborhood Market, 10) Walmart."

dunnhumby notes that its "RPI is the only approach to ranking grocers that combines financial results with customer perception. It includes the largest 65 retailers in the industry that sell everyday food and non-food household items."

The story goes on:

"Market Basket (1), Winco (2), and Aldi (3) are the top three in the RPI’s "Price, Promotions, Rewards" pillar, due to the strongest combination of mass and personalized pricing levers. Wegman’s (1), Trader Joes (2), and The Fresh Market (3) are the top three in the 'Quality' pillar. Wegman’s has held the top position in the 'Quality' pillar every year of the RPI.

"H-E-B topped the RPI ranking because they have the strongest customer value proposition for the long-term. This is due to their superior ability to deliver a combination of better savings and better experience/assortment, supported by time savings through superior digital capabilities.

"Amazon has been in the top three every year of the RPI and has ranked first twice. They are doing this with a segmented approach, rather than building a customer value proposition that equally attracts different segments of the general population."

KC's View:

Important to point out that there are a lot of great, even transcendent retailers that wouldn't make the "largest 65" cut.  Among them:  Dorothy Lane Market.  Stew Leonard's.  Westborn Market.

Also, not to beat the Amazon-could-close-its-physical-stores drum too endlessly, but if Amazon makes it to number two without a significant physical store presence, other than Whole Foods, then I think it contributes to the argument that it might be better off without bricks and mortar.