The landscape of American retail has been completely transformed in the past two decades. E-commerce giant Amazon has become the second-largest retailer, just behind Walmart. Based on revenue, Amazon may take first place soon. Big-box retailers have taken center stage among brick-and-mortar chains. Target’s annual revenue just moved above $100 billion.
Some companies in the department store sector have been decimated. Sears was once the largest retailer in America. It has barely two dozen stores today. J.C. Penney’s store count has dropped to a small fraction of what it was at its peak. The COVID-19 pandemic cut foot traffic so severely that even healthy retailers like Macy’s had to raise money to protect their operations. It added $4.5 billion to its balance sheet in June 2020.
The gulf between the success of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar operations has become so great that several of America’s largest retailers have explored breaking their companies into two operations, one of which would be entirely online.
Customer satisfaction remains the cornerstone of retailers. People who do not believe customer service is strong often stop coming to one retailer and begin to favor others. The American Customer Satisfaction Index’s just-released ACSI Retail and Consumer Shipping Study 2021–2022 measures how happy people are with retailers. To determine its rankings, it interviewed 36,517 retail customers between January 11, 2021, and December 20, 2021.
Retailers were divided into categories:
- Discount and department stores
- Specialty retailers
- Drug stores and supermarkets
- Online retailers
The major questions put to customers were about store hours, store location, store layout, website “satisfaction,” variety of merchandise and checkout speed.
The average score of the department and discount store category was 75. Costco topped the list with a score of 81. Founded in 1976, it is the fifth-largest retailer in the world. It has 804 stores worldwide, with 558 in the United States and Puerto Rico. Its quarterly revenue is about $45 billion.
Costco stands out from most other retailers considered. It charges people a flat fee to shop at its store and then offers sharp discounts on most merchandise and food.
These are America’s 10 favorite department and discount stores:
|Sam’s Club (Walmart)||78||−1%|
|BJ’s Wholesale Club||77||0%|
|TJX (Marshalls, TJ Maxx)||77||−1%|
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