Are you still shopping at Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) but enjoying it less? If so, you’ve got lots of company. The discount retailing behemoth may be the biggest, but it’s not the best in the eyes of consumers. In fact, it comes in dead last in the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), an annual survey conducted by researcher ACSI.
The organization’s new survey, covering 2011, was released on Feb. 21, and the results for the department store and discount chain category came in flat with the 2010 survey’s results. The group again scored an overall rating of 76. By contrast, specialty retail – where the likes of Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and Costco (NASDAQ:COST) are located – gained for the fourth year in a row, racking up an overall score of 79.
What retailer among this group took top honors this year? Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN), which landed with a score of 84, just ahead of No. 2 J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) at 82. Rounding out the top 5 were Kohl’s (NYSE:KSS) at 81 , Dillard’s (NYSE:DDS) and Target (NYSE:TGT), tied at 81. Wal-Mart’s cellar-dwelling rank: 70.
What might account for Wal-Mart’s lagging customer satisfaction? ”In view of Wal-Mart’s focus on value for money,” its score may seem surprising, says ACSI, “since shoppers continue to be very price-conscious. The problem may be that the denominator in the money/value expression is seen as too weak by consumers and that dollar stores and other big box retailers are viewed as viable alternatives, offering different combinations of service and product quality along with low price.”