Best Department and Discount Stores for Customer Satisfaction

by InvestorPlace Staff | February 22, 2012 11:39 am

Are you still shopping at Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT[1]) 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[2] (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[3]) and Costco (NASDAQ:COST[4]) 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[5]), which landed with a score of 84, just ahead of No. 2 J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP[6]) at 82. Rounding out the top 5 were Kohl’s (NYSE:KSS[7]) at 81 , Dillard’s (NYSE:DDS[8])  and Target (NYSE:TGT[9]), 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[10], “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.”

Whatever the reason, Wal-Mart has a long climb before it can approach the leaders in its segment.Check out the ASCI’s full list of charts here[11], or take a look at individual sectors here[12].

Endnotes:
  1. WMT: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=WMT
  2. American Customer Satisfaction Index: http://www.theacsi.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=275:press-release-february-2012&catid=14&Itemid=349
  3. BBY: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=BBY
  4. COST: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=COST
  5. JWN: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=JWN
  6. JCP: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=JCP
  7. KSS: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=KSS
  8. DDS: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=DDS
  9. TGT: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=TGT
  10. says ACSI: http://www.theacsi.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=276:acsi-commentary-February-2012&catid=14&Itemid=350
  11. ASCI’s full list of charts here: http://www.theacsi.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=206:acsi-scores-february&catid=14&Itemid=259
  12. look at individual sectors here: http://investorplace.com/hot-topics/2011-asci-rankings/

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