Aldi can do no wrong. Sales in 2013 were up 35.7% to £5.3bn and pre-tax profits increased 65% to 261m in figures released this week - a 4.9% margin that belies its discounter status. But we’ve found evidence Aldi isn’t getting everything right - in the form of its smartphone app

In a study for The Grocer, a 13-strong panel of developers and digital media specialists ranked 12 supermarket apps on speed, navigation, aesthetics and overall functionality. After averaging out the scores, Aldi’s was bottom of the pile.

“This app was so bad I had to check I had the correct one,” said Paul Swaddle, CEO of leading UK app developer Pocket App. “It just lists specials - there is no store finder, no search function. It’s a truly budget app.”

However, some judges felt the simplicity was “brand appropriate” and that the Special Buys feature worked well.

Perhaps more embarrassing was the fact Sainsbury’s app came second from bottom, despite its transactional capabilities (unlike some of the more basic sites) with one judge describing it as “excruciating”, “slow” and “buggy”.

And proving that having a winning app bears no relation to great sales, Morrisons was judged to have the best app, followed by Ocado.

The general standard of functionality and capability of the apps was encouraging, said Push Technology business development manager Martin Penning. “The differences between the top four or five are not immense. I would not be surprised to see some leap-frogging in the ratings over the next few months with the release of updated apps from each retailer.”