ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The American Customer Satisfaction Index has dropped just 0.1% from the previous quarter to 75.9 on the ACSI's 100-point scale, indicating that customers satisfaction remains strong, the ACSI reported.
“As long as unemployment remains high and credit tight, it is difficult to see how we can get to a sustainable pace of consumer spending growth,” said Professor Claes Fornell, head of the ACSI and author of The Satisfied Customer: Winners and Losers in the Battle for Buyer Preference. “But it is not all bad: the ‘will to spend’ is evidenced by high customer satisfaction. The issue is whether or not consumers have the ‘means to spend.’ The recent news about the decline in unemployment and the rise in manufacturing hiring may not only lead to more people working, but may also dampen the fear of job loss. If so, the means to spend will face less of a hurdle.”
According to the index, customer satisfaction with the retail sector, which includes department and discount stores, specialty retail stores, supermarkets, gas stations, and health and personal care stores, gains 1.3% to an ACSI score of 76.2.
Nordstrom maintains its lead among department and discount stores, rising 4% to an alltime high of 83. Several other retailers post large gains, including Target (+4% to 80), Dollar General (+5% to 79) and Dillard’s (+4% to 78). Macy’s is notable for bucking the positive trend. Its ACSI score falls 4% to an industry low of 71.
Among specialty retailers, Barnes & Noble stands out, leading for a third straight year with a score of 84. Office supply retailers rebound from a year ago, with OfficeMax making the biggest move, up 4% to 77 to tie Staples (+1%). Office Depot follows close behind (+1% to 76).
Home Depot improves for a second straight year, gaining 3% to 72. The improvement is not enough to move Home Depot up from the bottom of the specialty retail category or to close the gap with rival Lowe’s, which gains 4%t to an all-time high ACSI score of 79.
Supermarkets are unchanged for a third straight year with an ACSI score of 76. Publix has been in the lead since 1994 and this year is no exception: the supermarket chain improves 5% to 86, its highest score ever.
Safeway moves in the opposite direction one year after undertaking a large-scale store makeover. Its customer satisfaction retreats 4% to 72.