Walmart and Sears Get Lowest Customer Satisfaction Ratings

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The recently published 2017 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) for retail stores and websites shows that customer satisfaction is down slightly overall from a record high posted in 2016. The retail sector slipped 0.3% overall from an index score of 78.4 to 78.1.

Department stores and specialty retailers lost the most ground, likely due to continuing satisfaction from shopping online. Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) dropped one point to 71, the lowest among the department/discount stores included in the survey. Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD) tied with Dollar General Inc. (NYSE: DG) at a next-lowest 73.

One bit of good news for Walmart is that its Sam’s Club warehouse stores scored an 80 to tie for third behind Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) at 83 and Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) at 81.

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) once again led online retailers with an index score of 85. The average score among all online retailers was 82 and no online store scored below 81. Even so, the average score dipped 1.2% year over year. ACSI noted:

[Online] remains by far the most satisfying place to shop. The industry’s decline is the result of weaker scores for companies at either end of the size scale. Amazon (accounting for 43& of the total online sales), recedes 1% to 85. The bulk of the category, however, is made up of smaller online retailers and the websites of brick-and-mortar stores.

Walmart was included in the ACSI’s “all others” category for online retailers.

Among supermarkets, Walmart again finished dead last with an index score of 73 versus an average of 79 and a high — for Publix — of 86. Costco scored 83 while Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) and Amazon’s Whole Foods both scored 81.

Walmart also was the lowest scoring retailer for health and personal care stores, with an index score of 75 against an average of 79. Sears’ Kmart stores tied with Kroger for the top score of 80.

Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) was the lowest scoring specialty store with an index score of 76 versus a category average of 79. The best score went to L Brands Inc. (NYSE: LB) with a score of 85 at its Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works stores. Sporting goods retailer Cabela’s, now part of Bass Pro Shops, ranked second with a score of 82.