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America’s Least Favorite Stores, According to 62,000 Customers

Some retailers made the bottom of the list in several categories.

Shopping cart full of food in the supermarket aisle. High internal view. Horizontal compositionDavizro Photography/Shutterstock

Consumers in America have given retailers overall a thumbs down for the second year in a row, according to a recent customer satisfaction survey. The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey compiled the views of more than 62,000 people they randomly chose and contacted during 2018. Their findings? The retail sector as a whole slipped nearly a percentage point in consumer satisfaction compared to 2017. Stores were ranked on a scale from zero to 100. Then, the survey breaks the retail industry out into several different sectors, including discount and department stores, supermarkets, Internet retailers, and specialty stores. Factors the survey respondents considered included the quality of a retailer’s mobile app, the convenience of store hours, the cleanliness of the store, selection, and the courtesy and helpfulness of the staff.

ACSI Managing Director David VanAmburg suggested that staff shortages and constant turnover because of high employment might be to blame for what consumers perceive as “underwhelming” customer service. “Things like courtesy and helpfulness of store staff, call center support, and even availability of merchandise on the shelves … have seen drops from a year ago,” VanAmburg told NBC News. That said, some retailers improved or maintained their scores—find out the stores that ranked the highest in customer satisfaction—while others tumbled to, or remained in last place. Here are the stores that consumers ranked lowest:

PLATTSBURGH, USA - AUGUST 23, 2017 : WalMart store and logo. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. doing business as Walmart, is an American multinational retailing corporation that operates as a chain of hypermarketsdennizn/Shutterstock

Walmart

Walmart crosses over into several different categories—and appeared at the bottom of the list. The super-chain came in dead last again in the supermarket category, with a score of 72, down 1 percent from its score in 2017. “Walmart’s checkout speed is the slowest in the industry, and its staff is less courteous than its competitors,” the report says. And in both the discount store and Internet retailer categories, Walmart came in second to last, with scores of 72 and 74 in 2018, just edging out Sears.

Mishawaka - Circa August 2018: Sears Retail Mall Location. Sears is a Subsidiary of Sears Holdings IVJonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

Sears

It’s not surprising that Sears didn’t fare well in customer satisfaction, given the tumultuous year the embattled department store chain has had. “As the company shutters more stores, Sears customers find store locations, inventory stocks, and merchandise selection to be lacking compared with other chains,” according to the survey. Sears tumbled to last place in the department and discount stores, with a score that dropped from 73 in 2017 to 70 in 2018. And the chain also came in at the bottom of the list as an Internet retailer, with a score of 73 in 2018. Sears wasn’t very popular in 2017 either.

Tyler, TX - January 20, 2012: A GameStop store located in a shopping center on South Broadway in Tyler.Lori Martin/Shutterstock

GameStop

Consumers aren’t happy with video game supplier GameStop, either. The company ranked near the bottom of the list of specialty retail stores, with a score that decreased from 77 to 74 in from 2017 to 2018. The chain was also third from the bottom on the list of Internet retailers. GameStop’s board considered selling the company in 2018, but in January 2019 announced it was stopping the process.

Dick's Sporting Goods in Allentown, PA, USA. September 3, 2017Helen89/Shutterstock

Dick’s Sporting Goods

The outdoor retailer came in second-to-last place in the specialty retail category. Its score dipped 4 percent from 78 in 2017 to 75 in 2018. Like GameStop, the report noted that Dick’s had been affected by “shifting consumer shopping habits.” Dick’s sales were impacted by the decision to stop selling assault-style weapons after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida in February 2018. The retailer also said that decreased gun purchasing in general also accounted for the drop in sales.

Peru - Circa May 2018: Dollar General Retail Location. Dollar General is a Small-Box Discount Retailer IJonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

Dollar General

Dollar General ranked third-to-last place in the department and discount store category. But its score of 73 didn’t change from 2017 to 2018. Competitor Dollar Tree also maintained its score of 77 in the same category. If you’re in the market for a higher-dollar purchase, check out the best and worst car brands for customer satisfaction.

Laguna Niguel, CA / USA - 10/29/2018: Albertsons Grocery Store LocationArne Beruldsen/Shutterstock

Albertsons Companies

Albertsons operates more than 2,300 supermarkets and 1,762 pharmacies, including Safeway and Shaw’s. Its score in the supermarket category slipped one percentage point to 75, taking it to second-to-last place. The chain has endured its share of financial problems over the past few years. Albertsons is also facing stiff competition from Aldi’s and Trader Joe’s, both of which have been opening more stores across the United States.

Logansport - Circa October 2016: Home Depot Location. Home Depot is the Largest Home Improvement Retailer in the US IVJonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

Home Depot

The home improvement giant scored just below the industry average as an Internet retailer, with a score of 79. Home Depot tied its competitor Lowe’s in that category. Home Depot’s score in the specialty score category also remained steady at 76 from 2017 to 2018.

Close-up photo of shopping cart in supermarketKaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

SuperValu

SuperValu also scored near the bottom of the list in the supermarket category, slipping 1 percent with a score of 75. In July, United National Foods bought the chain.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA/USA - APRIL 13, 2017: Winn-Dixie retail grocery store exterior. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. is an American supermarket chain.Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

Southeastern Grocers

This supermarket chain slipped 3 percent in customer satisfaction in 2018, finishing with a score of 76. It’s not surprising as the company filed for bankruptcy in March 2018. If any of these choices surprised you, we bet you’ll also be shocked by which airline has the worst customer service.

Jen McCaffery
Jen McCaffery is an associate editor for Reader’s Digest. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Prevention, Rhode Island Monthly, and other publications and websites. When she’s not writing or editing, she’s growing veggies or trying to figure out the way home from assorted trails.