Costco Rated Best By Consumer Reports Readers, Walmart And Kmart Got Low Marks

Thousands of Consumer Reports readers say that Costco wholesale clubs were the best of major retailers when compared to JCPenney, Kmart, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Meijer, Sam’s Club, Sears, Target, and Walmart.

Based on 55,108 shopping experiences buying a range of products (PDF), which included some online stores from these retailers, gave Walmart and Kmart the lowest marks.

While those three stores do not surprise me – I have been a Costco member for many years – and I have also shopped at Walmart and Kmart. Costco – other than its line of men’s clothing – has excellent products, cheaper prices on most products, excellent customer service and a wonderful return policy. You do have limited choices (each store can only carry 4,000 items) and long lines at check out counters. Employees get paid a living wage and are friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable.

“Costco was the only chain to earn an outstanding grade for the overall quality of its merchandise, whether in stores or online. And it earned above-average scores for all 10 product categories we rated, including electronic entertainment, jewelry, and sporting goods. Its website did better than its walk-in stores on all counts except product quality (for which the two types tied) and earned top marks for layout, product value, and checkout,” the report says. You must be a Consumer Reports member to get the full report, a subscription I highly recommend.

None of those traits can be found at most Walmart and Kmart stores.

What surprised me was that Target was rated lower than the experiences I have had there. After Costco, Target is my second choice for good products, clean stores, ok staff.
“Our readers rated its layouts higher than for some other chains. Otherwise, the in-store shopping experience was just average, and Target’s website was not especially easy to use.”

Kohl’s, JCPenney, Macy’s, Meijer, Sears’, and Sam’s Club were in the middle.

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