Economic Development and Retail

American Customer Satisfaction Index releases retail report

February 20, 2015
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The 2014 American Customer Satisfaction Index Retail Report is out.

The annual report, which this year included the Grand Rapids-based Meijer in its scoring list of some of the country’s largest retailers, was based on more than 8,700 customer surveys collected in 2014’s fourth quarter.

ACSI considers its report “a benchmark of customer satisfaction with the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the United States.”

Retail categories and companies are scored in the report on a 100-point scale showing the degree of customer satisfaction. The report covers the retail customer satisfaction in the following categories: department and discount stores, specialty retail stores, supermarkets, Internet retailers, health and personal care stores, and gasoline stations.

The ACSI Retail Report noted overall customer retail satisfaction is down for the first time in the last four years, with customer satisfaction in brick-and-mortar retail either weakening or flat. The only category that was up from last year was Internet retail.

“Although there are several signs that the economy might finally take off, deteriorating customer satisfaction with retail suggests that consumer demand will not be where it needs to be,” said Claes Fornell, ACSI Chairman and founder.

“This is also reaffirmed by weak sales for most retailers over the holiday season. Unless consumer spending picks up dramatically, we won’t see much — if any — increase in the pace of economic recovery.”

Meijer placed about eighth overall in the category for department and discount stores with a score of 78 this year, just beating out J.C. Penny, which scored a 77, and just under Macy’s and Dollar Tree, which both scored 79.

Nordstrom was ranked the top performer in the category with a score of 86, and Wal-Mart and Exchange were ranked the lowest with scores of 68.

“Customer satisfaction with department and discount stores stays flat with an ACSI score of 77, while the gap between the best- and worst-ranked companies continues to grow. At the top, Nordstrom gains 4 percent to 86, while Wal-Mart drops 4 percent to 68 to the bottom of the category,” the report read. “With its lowest level of customer satisfaction since 2007, Wal-Mart is now well behind Target (+4% to 80), Meijer (78) and Sears (-5% to 73).”

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