Special Report

This Is America's Favorite Retailer

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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, and may take first place soon based on revenue. Big-box retailers have taken center stage among brick-and-mortar chains. Target’s annual revenue just moved above $100 billion. While Walmart is the largest department and discount store, Costco is America’s favorite retailer.

Unlike Walmart, Target, and Costco, some companies in the department store sector have been decimated. Sears was once the largest retailer in America but 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. Macy’s raised $4.5 billion in June 2020 to ensure it would have enough liquidity. (These are the only 25 Sears stores left in America.)

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. Consumers who do not believe a store has strong customer service 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, the ACSI interviewed 36,517 retail customers between Jan. 11, 2021, and Dec. 20, 2021. 

Retailers were divided into categories: Discount and department stores, specialty retailers, drug stores and supermarkets, and online retailers. The major questions put to customers were about store hours, store location, store layout, website satisfaction, variety of merchandise, and checkout speed. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the ACSI results to find America’s favorite retailer. 

The average score of retailers in 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 stores and then offers sharp discounts on most merchandise and food. (These are surprisingly good Costco, Walmart, and Target products.)

Click here to see America’s favorite retailer

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20. Walmart
> 2021 score: 71
> 2020 score: 71
> % change: 0%

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19. Fred Meyer (Kroger)
> 2021 score: 71
> 2020 score: 72
> % change: -1%

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18. Dollar General
> 2021 score: 72
> 2020 score: 71
> % change: 1%

17. Big Lots
> 2021 score: 72
> 2020 score: 73
> % change: -1%

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16. Dollar Tree
> 2021 score: 74
> 2020 score: 74
> % change: 0%

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15. Belk
> 2021 score: 74
> 2020 score: 76
> % change: -3%

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14. Ross Stores
> 2021 score: 75
> 2020 score: 76
> % change: -1%

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13. All Others
> 2021 score: 75
> 2020 score: 76
> % change: -1%

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12. Meijer
> 2021 score: 76
> 2020 score: 75
> % change: 1%

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11. Macy’s
> 2021 score: 76
> 2020 score: 77
> % change: -1%

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10. Burlington
> 2021 score: 76
> 2020 score: 76
> % change: 0%

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9. TJX (Marshalls, TJ Maxx)
> 2021 score: 77
> 2020 score: 78
> % change: -1%

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8. JCPenney
> 2021 score: 77
> 2020 score: 76
> % change: 1%

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7. Dilard’s
> 2021 score: 77
> 2020 score: 79
> % change: -3%

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6. BJ’s Wholesale Club
> 2021 score: 77
> 2020 score: 77
> % change: 0%

5. Target
> 2021 score: 78
> 2020 score: 76
> % change: 3%

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4. Sam’s Club (Walmart)
> 2021 score: 78
> 2020 score: 79
> % change: -1%

3. Kohl’s
> 2021 score: 78
> 2020 score: 78
> % change: 0%

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2. Nordstrom
> 2021 score: 79
> 2020 score: 80
> % change: -1%

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1. Costco
> 2021 score: 81
> 2020 score: 81
> % change: 0%

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