5 On Your Side

Consumer Reports rates big-box chain stores

Posted February 23, 2012

— When it comes to shopping, especially at large stores, the options are endless.

Big-box giants and major department stores allow people to buy everything they need in one spot, but finding the right combination of price and service is key. 

Consumer Reports recently polled its readers about which stores offer the best deals on the products people buy the most. 

"We asked readers to rate their experiences at major chaings, both in-store and online," Consumer Reports' Kim Kleman said. "We asked them about quality, selection, value, customer service and how easy it was to check out." 

More than 26,000 readers responded, rating stores like Target, WalMart, Macy's, Kohl's and even warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam's Club. 

"The biggest complaints we got about walk-in store were long lines, lack of sales help and out-of-stock items," Kleman said. 

WalMart got the lowest rating for customer service, with many readers commenting on how long it takes to check out. Target scored well for store layout but flat for quality and value. Target's website, which offers a bigger selection, did well for quality, selection and value. 

Kohl's and JCPenney scored above average for the quality of items sold. K-Mart came up short for quality, speed at checkout and value. 

Shoppers did like Costco, rating it highly for having a variety of products and good quality. Costco's website also did well thanks to how easy it is to navigate.

"It was the only chain to get an outstanding grade for the overall quality of its merchandise both in store and online," Kleman said. "And the Costco website isn't just for members. Non-members can shop there if they pay an extra 5 percent of the purchase price."

Kohl's and JC Penney checked in just behind Costco on the list for overall satisfaction. 


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