‘Sainsbury’s worst, Co-op best for disabled shoppers’

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Supermarket Sainsbury’s has been labelled worst for disabled shoppers owing to the maximum number of complaints as compared to any other UK supermarket chain, an analysis of online customer reviews has found which hailed Co-op as the best in this regard.

The retailer was the subject of one quarter of all negative comments made by disabled customers on a review site about the seven largest supermarket chains. Difficulties with the delivery process for online orders were the most common grievance.

Co-op performed best, with just 1 per cent of poor reviews taking aim at the retailer, followed by Lidl and Marks & Spencer, according to Britsuperstore, a British grocery specialist that analysed the content of more than 750 reviews of supermarkets posted by disabled people on review platform Trustpilot.

Asda was the second most-complained about supermarket, accounting for just under one in five complaints, and ranked third worst, with 15 per cent of all negative reviews directed at the nation’s largest grocery chain.

Problems with delivery, rude staff and poor customer service were the most commonly cited issues raised by disabled shoppers who posted complaints.

Nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of disabled people surveyed by disability equality charity Scope have changed where they shop because of negative experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Warren Kirwan, a spokesman for disability equality charity Scope, said the latest analysis findings were “concerning” and that supermarkets “should be getting this right”.

“This is not a new issue and not just limited to Sainsbury’s. There were problems before the pandemic, and we also know that large numbers of disabled people feel that invisible impairments are not well understood by supermarkets,” Mr Kirwan said.

“Where products are on a shelf matters, and the attitudes of staff can have a massive impact on disabled shoppers’ experience, as can frequently changing the layout.”

The “purple pound” – the spending power of disabled people and their families – is worth £274bn per year in the UK, according to Purple, an organisation that champions disabled people as consumers and employees.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s said it aimed to be an inclusive retailer and pointed out that it was the first supermarket chain to offer customers sunflower lanyards, which signify that the wearer has a hidden disability and may need additional support.

It added that customers ordering groceries online can add delivery instructions for drivers to let them know if they require extra assistance on the doorstep.