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The nation’s favorite store is…

BY Marianne Wilson

Customer satisfaction with supermarkets is at an all-time high.

That’s according to the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Retail Report 2017, which shows the retail sector as a whole remains steady, with an ACSI score of 78.1, down just a hair from an all-time high of 78.3 a year ago.

Supermarkets were one of the strongest retail industries in 2017, with 13 of 22 stores improving on their 2016 scores.

Publix ruled the roost, surging 2% to a top score of 86, which was the highest customer satisfaction score across all retail categories, including e-commerce. Trader Joe’s was right behind, at 85, followed by Aldi and Wegmans (both at 84).

“While Trader Joe’s was unable to sustain its record-high score from last year, customer satisfaction with the grocer is still extremely high for a brick-and-mortar retailer, on par with Amazon’s score in the internet retail category,” said David VanAmburg, managing director at ACSI.

Costco led department stores and discount stores with a score of 83, followed by Nordstrom (81), Sam’s Club (80) and BJ’s (80). J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and Meijer all scored 79. Target dropped two points to a score of 77, but still topped Sears (73) and Walmart, which had a score of 71.

In other results:

• Specialty retail stores: L Brands (Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, Pink) led the category with a score of 85, and was among the most improved across all retail industries, jumping four points over last year. The company has been reinvigorating its brick-and-mortar stores, devoting 70% of its investments into renovations and expansions, and according to customers, it’s paying off.

Cabela’s was second in the specialty category, with a score of 82, followed by Barnes & Noble and O’Reilly Auto Parts (both 81), Bed, Bath & Beyond and TJX Cos. (both at 80).

• Internet retail: Amazon topped all companies with a score of 85, one point off its 2016 score of 86. Newegg was second place at 83, followed by eBay, Overstock, and all others clustered at 81.

The ACSI Retail Report 2017, based on 50,186 customer surveys collected throughout 2017, is available for download here.

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J.Shaughness says:
Mar-09-2018 07:15 am

I suggest a more true measure of America's favorite is customer count and sales totals. Therefore, Kroger is America's favorite grocery store.

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A healthy mix of new formats, concepts

BY Marianne Wilson

Don’t be fooled: There is still plenty of life left in physical retail — and not just for the short term. The industry is ripe with new formats and new concepts.

What’s especially heartening is that the development is coming from digitally native upstarts and familiar, longstanding brands. Even the founder of Tom’s of Maine has thrown his hat in the ring, with a sustainable apparel concept called Rambler’s Way.

Here’s a look at some of the activity:

Dyson Demo: Dyson Demo, from the British brand best known for its vacuum cleaners, made its U.S. debut with a flagship in Manhattan. Designed to encourage people to try out and understand Dyson technology, the 3,100-sq.-ft. store is sleek, futuristic and totally hands on.

Dry Goods: After flying under the radar for several years, this subsidiary of Von Maur Department Stores is spreading its wings a bit. Dry Goods, which offers on-trend junior women’s apparel and accessories from a variety of brands amid a hip, vintage-style backdrop, will open 12 stores throughout the Midwest this year.

Everlane: The socially minded, digitally native brand has opened its first permanent locations (in New York City and San Francisco) in a push to expand with key locations nationwide. With no signage or mannequins, Everlane stores have a minimal, uncluttered look that’s perfectly in sync with the brand’s online identity. The stores even live up to Everlane’s promise of transparency, offering takeaway cards with information on its factories around the globe.

FAO Schwarz: The venerable toy retailer is making a comeback, with plans to open, in partnership with the Hudson Group, a chain of FAO Schwarz-branded airport shops in the United States and Canada. It’s a smart move given the explosive growth of airport retail. Also in the works: a flagship at New York’s Rockefeller Center.

Land’s End: The longtime specialty apparel company is doubling down on bricks-and-mortar, with plans to unveil a new retail concept (in Chicago) this year, and four to six additional locations. It expects to open 40 to 60 stores during the next five years.

Riley Rose: Forever 21 goes deep into beauty — mostly of the indie kind — with its new freestanding lifestyle concept. Awash in pink hues, product demos and Instagrammable moments, Riley Rose is a young beauty lover’s paradise — with a smattering of fun home goods and sweet treats.

Reserve: Starbucks has big (1,000 stores) plans for its new upscale coffee/café concept, which debuted in Seattle. The marketplace-style format combines higher-end coffees with freshly-made Italian goods and p.m. cocktails.

Roots: A new experiential format brings the Canadian sportswear brand’s heritage to life. A leather customization workshop lets shoppers view Root’s handcrafted process. Shoppers can also customize their own products. The brand is looking to ramp up its U.S. store footprint during the next few years.

Universal Fashion:  The plus-size “inclusive” women’s apparel brand known for its sleek, stylish fashions has amassed a cult following. Flush with a new round of funding, it plans to expand its retail format (two showrooms) nationwide.

The retailers above are just the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty more in the offing — or at least in the pipeline.

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Twenty-year-old sues Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart over age restrictions on firearms

BY CSA Staff

A young man in Oregon is challenging the new age restrictions that some retailers have put in place for buying guns.

Tyler Watson has filed lawsuits suing Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods for age discrimination after the two retailers refused to sell him a rifle, according to CNBC, which cited a report by The Oregonian/OregonLive. Oregon state law allows residents who are at least 18 years old to buy shotguns and rifles.

The lawsuit is believed to be the first filed over the retailers’ new gun policies, which restrict sales of firearms to anyone under the age of 21, that were enacted at the end of February.

In addition to asking judges to force Dick’s and Walmart “to stop unlawfully discriminating against 18, 19, and 20 year-old customers at all Oregon locations,” Watson is seeking unspecified punitive damages, CNBC said.

Walmart plans to defend the new policy, spokesman Randy Hargrove told The Oregonian.

“We stand behind our decision and plan to defend it,” he said. “While we haven’t seen the complaint, we will respond as appropriate with the court.”

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