Boulder, Col. -- Nordstrom is the nation’s favorite fashion retail chain, according to an annual consumer study conducted by customer intelligence solutions provider Market Force Information. The upscale department store edged out Kohl’s, which had ranked first in the three previous studies. This year, Kohl’s moved to the No. 2 spot overall, followed by Macy’s, Dillard’s and J.C. Penney.
The study of more than 4,000 consumers was designed to uncover which fashion retail chains they like most, as well as why they prefer one to another. It also ranked the top retailers in five different fashion sub-categories, where Nordstrom emerged as the favorite for business wear and evening wear, Kohl’s for casual wear and children’s clothes, and Dick’s Sporting Goods for sports apparel.
“Nordstrom has cultivated a distinctive brand over the past century, and while it’s known for its selection of designer clothing, its real claim to fame is quality customer service,” said Janet Eden-Harris, chief marketing officer for Market Force. “We weren’t hugely surprised to see Nordstrom and Kohl’s rank one and two in this year’s study, since both brands share a customer-centric approach that breeds loyalty, recommendations and customer delight.”
Market Force also looked at how fashion retailers compared in various attributes to determine if they set apart the leaders from the rest. Nordstrom led in six of the eight attributes, from great service to merchandise selection. Banana Republic ranked second in the influential customer service category, followed by American Eagle Outfitters. Off-price retailers Ross, T.J. Maxx and Marshalls earned the highest marks for their value, while Kohl’s was lauded for its loyalty program.
“While all of these attributes combined provide a structure for an excellent customer experience, we discovered that a liberal return policy is the attribute that matters most to consumers,” said Eden-Harris.
While Nordstrom earned top honors as the favorite overall fashion retailer, other chains rose to the top when survey respondents were asked to rate their favorite brands in specific fashion categories.
Kohl’s landed in the top three in every category except evening wear, and was the overwhelming favorite in casual wear and children’s clothes. Nordstrom was the decisive leader in the business wear and evening wear categories, with Macy’s coming in a distant second in both. Dick’s was far and away the preferred retailer for sports clothing, followed by Sports Authority and Kohl’s. The children’s clothing category rankings were the closest, with Kohl’s edging out a lead over Carter’s, and Target taking the third-place spot.