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J.D. Power Study: Lowe’s highest among appliance retailers in customer satisfaction

BY Marianne Wilson

Westlake Village, Calif. — Lowe’s ranked highest in customer satisfaction among appliance retailers for a second consecutive year, achieving a score of 807 on a 1,000-point scale, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Appliance Retailer Satisfaction Study. The study measures satisfaction based on performance in six areas: sales staff and service; store facility; merchandise (i.e., variety of brands/models offered and availability of merchandise and product information); price; delivery service; and installation service.

Lowe’s scored particularly well in four of the six factors: store facility; price; delivery service; and installation service. It was followed in the ranking by Hhgregg (799) and Sears (793).

The survey found that service-related aspects of major appliance retailers — including sales, delivery and installation services — are slightly more important to overall satisfaction than facility, product and price.

“Appliance retailers often try to compete on price and merchandise, but the main differentiator when it comes to satisfaction is having knowledgeable and courteous staff available to assess and help meet customer needs," said Jim Howland, senior director of the real estate and construction practice at J.D. Power and Associates.

The 2011 Appliance Retailer Study is based on responses from more than 4,400 customers who purchased a laundry or kitchen appliance within the previous 24 months from a major appliance retailer. The study was fielded between March and April 2011.

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Sears expands online efforts to reach Latino market

BY Staff Writer

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings has announced the launch of two Latino social media channels: Facebook.com/SearsLatino and a Twitter handle @SearsLatino.

"The Latino market is a vitally important customer segment for us. Given its population growth and high adoption of social media, this is a natural extension of our online initiatives," said Oscar H. Castro, director/GM International e-commerce. "We want to create an engaging community for all of our Latino customers, whether they prefer English or Spanish, and whether they are in California, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Brazil or elsewhere in the world.”

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Consumer spending down in June

BY Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. — A Tuesday report from the Commerce Department showed that consumer spending dropped 0.2% in June, to $21.9 billion.

Personal income was virtually flat for the month, increasing 0.1% to $18.7 billion, which was in line with estimates.

“Today’s personal income data shows that consumers had a little more money in their pockets in June, as incomes increased and prices – particularly gas prices — dropped,” Commerce Department chief economist Mark Doms said. “With an agreement to raise the debt ceiling and avoid default in place, business and consumer confidence is more likely to strengthen, raising the outlook for greater economic growth and job creation in the third quarter.”

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