These 10 retailers had the worst customer satisfaction ratings for 2013

There’s no doubt the shopping experience has improved tremendously for Americans over the last decade. Online shopping has been the game-changer, but a lot of retailers have also focused on improving the in-store shopping “experience.”

Still, nothing’s perfect.

Think of the stores you hate to have to visit. Yes, that grocery place with the long lines, or the department store with unhelpful sales representatives, or the fancy shop with overpriced items. You don’t like going there, but sometimes you have no choice.

Now, what if you ranked all those retailers? The folks over at the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) conduct a survey every year asking people to rate their shopping experience based on factors including convenience of location, product quality, courtesy of staff and store layout.

It turns out that a lot of Americans hate (or love) shopping at the same stores.

Here are the 10 retailers with the worst customer satisfaction, based on ACSI’s latest rankings across different categories and compiled by business Web site 24x7WallStreet:

10. Winn-Dixie

This grocery and pharmacy chain is primarily based in the South. It scored 77 on the index for 2013, down from 2012.

9. Supervalu

This retail chain is the parent company of stores such as Farm Fresh and Shop ‘N’ Save, as well as discount store Save-A-Lot. Supervalu scored 77 on the index, an improvement from 2012.

8. Gap

The clothing retailer that was recently in the news for raising its employees’ minimum wage came in at No. 8. Gap scored 77 on the ACSI index, and it landed at the bottom of a smaller list of specialty retail stores.

7. Best Buy

The electronics giant, which posted better-than-expected earnings Thursday morning, scored 77 on the index, a decline from 2012.

6. Safeway

Grocery chain Safeway improved slightly from 2012, posting a score of 76. But in the supermarkets category, Safeway was rated the second-worst retailer.

5. Macy’s

Shoppers weren’t very satisfied with Macy’s in 2013, as the retailer’s score fell compared with 2012. That doesn’t seem to have affected its profits, though. Macy’s was one of the few retailers to post strong sales during the rough holiday season.

4. Walgreen’s

Pharmacy chain Walgreen’s plans to expand this year and is in the process of acquiring Kerr Drug’s. The company's score was unchanged from a year ago, and it outranked rivals CVS and Rite Aid in the health and personal care category.

3. CVS

CVS’s recent decision to stop the sale of all tobacco products may not sit well with smokers, but other Americans aren’t thrilled with the store, either. CVS’s score did improve compared with 2012, though.

2. Rite Aid

Americans are largely dissatisfied with the speed of checkout at drug stores, according to the ACSI report, which is why so many made the list. Rite Aid’s score dropped from last year. The expansion of CVS stores and a simultaneous reduction in Rite Aid outlets may have contributed to the decline, the report said.

1. Wal-Mart

The world’s biggest retailer received the dubious honor of being ranked No. 1 on this list. Wal-Mart’s score was unchanged from last year. The report said Wal-Mart has had low customer satisfaction rankings for at least a decade. Wal-Mart’s last earnings report wasn’t great, and the discount store isn’t very optimistic about 2014.

Retailers were ranked in separate categories, such as supermarkets or discount stores. The scores reflect the stores that performed worse than the average within their category.

It should be noted that overall customer satisfaction with retailers increased for the third year in a row. Surprisingly, the in-store retail experience was rated better than online shopping. As more people shopped online, stores were less crowded, the report said.

“A spate of last-minute holiday purchases online, combined with inclement weather, left some buyers disgruntled by delayed shipments,” said Claes Fornell, the ACSI’s chairman and founder. “That’s the likely reason for Internet retail getting its lowest customer satisfaction benchmark in more than a decade.”

Amrita Jayakumar covers national startups, small business issues and entrepreneurship.

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