A regional department store, a warehouse giant, a discount supermarket and an online powerhouse rank among the nation’s favorite retailers.
That's according to the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, which rates consumers’ satisfaction across six retail industries. The report found that satisfaction with the overall retail trade rise 4.7% in 2016 to a score of 78.3 (on a 100-point scale) an all-time high for the sector.
Dillard's was tops among the 15 companies surveyed in the department and discount store category. It received a score of 83 out of a possible 100, up 4% from the previous year. J.C. Penney Co. Inc. took second place with a score of 82, and also had the largest increase from the previous year, up 11%.
Nordstrom was the only department store to deteriorate in customer satisfaction, slipping 2% into a three-way tie with Dollar Tree and Belk at 80.
Customer satisfaction with Walmart rose 9% as the company's renewed attention to customer service via "holiday helpers" to expedite checkout lines and aid shoppers paid off. Despite the ACSI gain, however, Walmart continues to anchor the low end of the industry with an ACSI score of 72.
The supermarkets sector was led by Trader Joe’s, with a score of 86, followed by Publix at 84 and Aldi, H-E-B and Wegmans at 83. Whole Foods climbs 11% to 81, ahead of Hy-Vee, Kroger and ShopRite (all 79). Meijer matches Target at 78, followed by Bi-Lo (+4% to 77).
Costco led the specialty retail category, with a score of 83, followed by Sam’s Club, L Brands, and Barnes & Noble, all at 81.
Home Depot rose 10% to 80, ahead of Lowe’s (79) for the first time, as well as Menards (79). Ascena, which recently acquired Ann Taylor, makes its debut at 78 and ties with two pet supply stores: Petco and PetSmart. Best Buy, Big Lots and Toys “R” Us follow at 77. Abercrombie & Fitch improved the most, up 17%, but remains last at 76.
In the online category Amazon continues to hold first place, advancing 4% to 86 amid a strong holiday season, followed by Newegg at 83 and eBay at 81.
The ACSI report, which is based on 12,515 customer surveys collected in the fourth quarter of 2016, is available for free download here.