This article identifies the relative importance of service quality across two grocery store formats. Research to date, indicates that within the grocery sector, customers expect value for money in terms of product quality, nutritional value and service quality. If these attributes are met in relation to the customers' perceived risk, it is more likely that customer satisfaction and retention will occur. In difficult competitive, social and economic circumstances, some sources indicate that there will be a trading down in customer shopping habits, with more customers expecting higher levels of service provision across a wider range of store formats, including the discounters. This study examines the relative importance of service quality for a quality-led retailer, compared to a discounter. Quantitative and qualitative research was carried out to obtain both a demand and supply–side perspective. Research findings demonstrate that despite the fact that consumer expectations are rising in relation to the overall shopping experience, distinctions in relation to customers' expectations between the levels of service provided across quality-led stores, compared to discounters, is still evident.