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Customer satisfaction with retailers is mostly steady


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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Customer satisfaction with retail is relatively stable, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s 2021-2022 ranking.  The Retail Trade sector as a whole saw its score dip just 0.5% to 75.1 (out of 100).

ACSI“Cool stability,” says ACSI managing director David VanAmburg. “That’s the best way to describe the retail sector right now. Gas stations have taken a hit for obvious reasons with inflation, but as we progress toward year three of the pandemic, online retail is the only industry that undergoes a satisfaction decline. Drugstores actually see a slight bump, while the other retailers are steady across the board. If I had to guess, I’d say that although customers are likely frustrated with more frequent product delays and limited inventory, they’ve also adjusted their expectations at the same time. This patience bodes well for retailers.”

This study includes six retail industries – online retail, department and discount stores, specialty retail stores, drugstores, supermarkets, and gas stations – as well as consumer shipping and the U.S. Postal Service. Of the six retail categories, only online retail and gas stations (down 4.2% to 68) saw their satisfaction scores slide in 2021.

After three years of worsening customer satisfaction, the drugstore industry as a whole improved 1.3% to an ACSI score of 76.

The group of smaller drugstores tops the leaderboard again, inching up 1% to a score of 80. Next is CVS, down 1% to 76, followed by Kroger, which slipped 1% to a score of 75. Walgreens was unchanged at 74, just ahead of Albertsons Cos. and Rite Aid, both up 1% to 73. Walmart was in last place in the ranking, sinking 3% to 71.

After sliding last year, the department and discount stores sector saw its ACSI score hold steady this year at 75.

Costco remains in first place — for the sixth consecutive year — with a stable mark of 81. Nordstrom (including Nordstrom Rack) stays in second, despite slipping back 1 percentage point to 79. There’s a three-way tie for third place, with Kohl’s (unchanged), Sam’s Club (down 1%), and Target (up 3%) all scoring 78.

Four retailers tie at 77: BJ’s Wholesale Club (unchanged), Dillard’s (down 3%), JCPenney (up 1%), and TJX’s Marshalls and TJ Maxx (down 1%).

Two more retailers are tied with ACSI scores of 72: Big Lots (which slipped 1%), and Dollar General (up 1%). Fred Meyer (down 1%) and Walmart (unchanged) had ACSI scores of 71.

Meanwhile, the supermarket industry stopped its one-year slide with a steady ACSI score of 76.

Trader Joe’s leads all supermarkets – and the entire Index – rising 1% to 85. H-E-B is next, unchanged at 82, followed by a three-way tie for third between Aldi (up 1%), Costco (down 1%), and Wegmans (down 1%), all at 81.

Publix backtracks 2% to 80, just ahead of Sam’s Club, down 1% to 79, and BJ’s Wholesale Club, unchanged at 78.

Southeastern Grocers stays near the bottom of the industry despite rising 3% to 75. The grocer just outpaces a stable Save A Lot at 74. Albertsons Companies (unchanged at 71) ekes out last-place Walmart, which slips 1% to 70.