America’s Favorite — and Least Liked — Retailers Remain Unchanged

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Consumers are happier with retailers than ever before. But some retail chains still struggle to make the grade.

Americans love to shop at Costco and Dillard’s, according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index.

The two retailers reign supreme among specialty retail stores and department and discount stores — the second straight year Costco and Dillard’s have claimed top honors.

After two years of declining customer satisfaction, retailers made a comeback in 2016 with a 4.7 percent increase in shopper satisfaction scores. The retail trade earned a score of 78.3 (out of 100) on this year’s ACSI. That’s an all-time high for the retail sector, according to the ACSI.

But not all retailers are as good at keeping their customers happy as Costco and Dillard’s — both of whom earned ACSI scores of 83.

For instance, Walmart received a score of 72 for 2016. That’s a 9 percent jump from the previous ACSI, but the retail giant still ranked last among retailers, even though it has taken steps to improve customer satisfaction, such as expanding its free curbside grocery pickup service.

David VanAmburg, ACSI managing director, tells MoneyWatch:

“Walmart hasn’t changed a lot in terms of the horse race. While Walmart is clearly doing some things well, other companies are also doing some things well. Relatively speaking, it’s not enough to be a game-changer [for Walmart].”

In a press release, VanAmburg notes that while retailers such as Sears, Macy’s and JCPenney are closing stores across the country, Americans seem to be happier with their retail experiences. While store closures are “not ideal,” VanAmburg says, “fewer customers mean shorter lines, faster checkout and more attention from sales staff.”

For more about Costco, check out “8 Ways to Squeeze the Most From Your Costco Membership.”

Who are your favorite retailers? Sound off below or on Facebook.

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