The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) for retail stores and websites was published on Wednesday, and the surprising thing is how thoroughly Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is disliked. Excepting its Sam’s Club stores in the specialty retail group, Wal-Mart stores finished last in every category for which the stores were eligible. Sort of a reverse sweep.
In the department and discount story category, Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) took the top spot with a year-over-year gain of 4% to an ACSI score of 86. Target Inc. (NYSE: TGT) also improved by 4% in this category as memories of its credit card security issue faded. Wal-Mart finished with an ACSI score of 68, tied for last and down 4% from a year ago.
Among specialty retailers the top choice was Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) with an ACSI score of 84. Not far behind was L Brands Inc. (NYSE: LB), which operates the Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works stores. Sam’s Club scored a respectable 80 while Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) finished at the bottom with a score of 75. Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) handily outscored larger rival Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) with an ACSI score of 81 to Home Depot’s 76.
Among supermarkets, Wegmans and Trader Joe’s led with an ACSI score of 85, and Wal-Mart was last again with a score of 71. Whole Foods Markets Inc. (NASDAQ: WFM) scored 81, the highest among publicly traded supermarkets.
Kroger Inc. (NYSE: KR) led health and personal care stores with an ACSI score of 81. Wal-Mart again finished dead, clinking last with a score of 68, well below the 75 posted by the next-lowest store, CVS Health Corp. (NYSE: CVS).
The leading Internet retailer was Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) with an ACSI score of 86, tying with Nordstrom for the highest score among all types of retailers. The lowest rated seller here is Overstock.com Inc. (NASDAQ: OSTK) with a score of 77.
ACSI noted some general trends among retailers:
- The only group of brick-and-mortar stores not see a year-over-year decline in customer satisfaction was the department and discount store group.
- Satisfaction with specialty retailers fell by 1.3%.
- Supermarkets saw a drop of 2.6% in their overall ACSI score, likely as a result of higher food prices.
- Satisfaction with health and personal care stores slipped 2.5%.
- Internet retail posted an overall satisfaction score increase of 5.1%, which ACSI attributes to gains in satisfaction with the online business of brick-and-mortar retailers.