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Fortune Smiles Once Again on Nugget Markets, Wegmans, Publix

A new national ranking has revealed what the industry already knows: the retail food industry is a great place to work.

Nugget Markets, Wegmans Food Markets and Publix Super Markets were named the second, fourth and eleventh ranked “20 Best Workplaces in Retail," respectively, by Fortune Magazine and the Great Place to Work Institute.

The three retail food companies, which were also joined by Whole Foods Markets as No. 17, were chosen as best retail workplace leaders based on evaluations by more than 45,000 employees within the retail sector. Employees ranked their companies using Great Place to Work's Trust Index survey, and answered questions about how frequently they experience the behaviors that create a great workplace, considering everything from the quality of the company's pay and benefits, their opportunities for advancement, support for employees' personal lives, and management ethics and day-to-day respect for staff.

"The companies on this list are leaders who offer retail employees' well-rounded workplaces capable of attracting and developing top talent regardless of industry sector," says Michael Bush, CEO of Great Place to Work United States. "Ranking on this list is a great indicator that these companies' efforts to create great workplaces are resonating throughout their teams."

At the head of this year's "20 Best Workplaces in Retail" grocers list is Woodland, Calif.-based Nugget Markets, at No. 2. The report cites the family-owned grocery chain's stellar record of having never laid off a single employee in its 89-year history. "Instead, the company pays 100 percent of their workers' health insurance premiums, and even part-time staff members are eligible for full-time medical benefits. Flexible scheduling is also a key benefit here, as employees earn up to five weeks of paid vacation time, and an additional 56 hours of paid time off for work-life balance. And for those who need to shop for after-work dinner, the company gives a 10 percent staff discount on its groceries."

Placing at No. 4 is Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans Food Markets, which was lauded for "awarding more than $100 million in educational scholarships to more than 32,000 employees, with no obligation of continued employment," since 1984. Fortune also praised Wegmans' "three-year internship program for those who enter the grocery chain’s workforce," as well as its $50 million purse for formal training programs.

At No. 11, Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix Super Markets earned applause for providing "its workers with an option to purchase more shares of the company’s privately-held stock. There is also tuition reimbursements of up to $12,800 given towards those holding degrees in accounting, industrial engineering, information technology, pre-pharmacy, marketing and business management. For those looking for further training, eligible staff members can receive up to $3,400 for courses or technical programs."

Whole Foods, at No. 17, was cited as a "Best Workplace in Retail" for its employee benefits that begin on their first day on the job, as well as 20 percent discounts on store purchases for employees' spouses and/or partners, which can "be raised to 30 percent if employees live a healthy lifestyle through the Healthy Discount Incentive program. Team members are also eligible to buy the company’s stock, and since Whole Foods’ IPO, 93 percent of stock options worth more than $1 billion have been given to its non-executive staff members."

Two convenience stores chains also made the list, including Sheetz, at No. 8, who was praised for generous bonus schemes for all team members, which equated to roughly $40 million in bonus money in 2013, and QuikTrip at No. 9, based in Tulsa, Okla.

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