Consumer satisfaction with retail outlets in 2014, went down for the first time in three years.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) — an independent national benchmark of customer satisfaction with the quality of products and services available in the United States — reports that all retail categories (except internet sales) show weakening or flat customer satisfaction.
One of the reasons mentioned for the decline in satisfaction is higher prices, particularly at supermarkets and drug stores.
Among department and discount stores, Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Kohl’s and Target topped the list while Wal-Mart came in at the bottom.
Wal-Mart’s customer satisfaction is at the lowest level since 2007 and the store had its weakest annual sales growth in five years.
The company’s ACSI score is well behind Sears (73) which is also struggling to hold on to its consumer base.
Among specialty retailers, Costco, Barnes & Noble, BJ’s; Bed, Bath and Beyond and Lowe’s outperformed stores like the Gap and Home Depot, which lost customer satisfaction points.
Lowe’s is the category lead for home improvement stores, possibly due to Home Depot’s high profile security breach.
Stores selling office supplies, electronics, or clothing rank near or below average in the specialty retail category. In the office supply arena, Staples may soon be the only contender, according to ACSI analysis.
Trader Joe’s, Publix, Whole Foods and Target were tops among grocery stores while Wal-Mart again fell below the category average.
A surprise winner in the health and personal care category, is Kroger. The store’s pharmacy operations matched the category average and ranked higher than stores like Rite Aid, Target and Walgreens.