Consumer Reports survey: Shoppers love Costco and Dillard’s, Target and Walmart are Subpar

by News Guy on June 11, 2010

By John McCartney
On behalf of Consumer Reports, I’m sharing out this story from the July issue “Retail Stores: Consumer Reports Survey Results

Consumer Reports asked 30,000 readers to weigh in on the best and worst chain stores in the county. For all the talk about Walmart’s low prices, 30,666 subscribers surveyed said the prices at 10 other retailers, including JCPenney, Sears, Dillard’s, and Meijer, were at least as good. And bigger wasn’t necessarily better when it came to the overall shopping experience. Almost three-quarters of respondents who shopped at Walmart found at least one problem to complain about, and half had two or more complaints about the store or its staff. Here are the other findings:

  • Four chains earned outstanding scores for merchandise quality: Costco (watches and jewelry, personal-care items, hardware, home décor, kitchenware, electronic entertainment such as music and DVDs, and sporting goods and toys), Dillard’s (men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing; personal-care items; home décor; and kitchenware), Macy’s (home décor and personal-care items), and Sears (hardware).
  • Target’s “cheap chic” goods didn’t wow everyone. Despite its high-profile partnerships with fashionistas Cynthia Vincent, Eugenia Kim, and Zac Posen, survey respondents judged the quality of Target’s women’s clothing and watches and jewelry below average, and the store’s kitchenware, home décor, and men’s and children’s apparel average.
  • When it came to service, Dillard’s stood out from the pack. According to Jack Abelson, president of Jack Abelson & Associates, a retail-consulting firm in Leawood, Kan., service is deteriorating industry-wide because of retailers’ fixation on low prices. “The trouble today,” Abelson says, “is that the staff is not trained to be anything but glorified cashiers and security guards.” Shoppers at Kmart, Walmart, and Sam’s Club (Walmart’s warehouse club spin-off) were more likely than others to complain about the staff.
  • In addition to a lack of sales help, the most prevalent problems were that desired items were out of stock and that checkouts were jammed. In fact, 29 percent of shoppers we surveyed complained about long lines. The problems were much worse than average at Kmart, Walmart, and Meijer, a Midwestern chain of superstores.

Here’s a link to the article’s overview: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2010/july/shopping/retail-stores/overview/index.htm

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