Retail Report Reveals “Best” and “Worst” Retailers of 2012 Season?

Charleston, SC—How do you measure what makes a retailer the “best” or “worst” of 2012?

Well, According to America’s Research Group (ARG), which today released its Updated Retail Report, you have to taken into account customer retention.

“A well-marketed, well-merchandised retailer needs to retain 80% or more of its customer base,” said ARG Chairman and CEO Britt Beemer, “but only three made that list in 2012. In previous years, at least seven or more did so. If you’re losing one-third or more of your customers, you’ve got serious problems.”

Of 25 retailers surveyed only three retained at least 80% of their customer base:  Walmart at 93%, Sam’s Club at 80% and Dollar Tree close at 79.7%, Big Lots at 76.1% and Amazon at 75.9%.

The Complete Best and Worst of the Holiday Shopping Season: Walmart 93%; Sam’s Club 80%; Dollar Tree 79.7%; Big Lots 76.1%; Amazon 75.9%; Target 75.7%; Ross 72%; Marshalls 70.9%; Sears 67.4%; JC Penney 67.1%; Walgreens 69.9%; Old Navy 66%; Best Buy 63.6%; Macy’s 62.8%; TJ Maxx 62.6%; Kohl’s 62.2%; American Eagle 61.5%; Toys R Us 61.1%; Home Depot 57.9%; CVS 57.7%; Costco 56.2%; Lowe’s 53.9%; The Gap 53.1%; BJ’s 49.5%; Barnes & Noble 47.8%.

Which Stores will Survive?

Winners and Losers by category: Walmart (93%) beat Target (75.7%); Sam’s Club (80%) beat Costco (56.2%); Ross (72%) beat Marshalls (70.9%) and TJ Maxx (62.6%); Sears (67.4%) edged out JCPenney (67.1%); Walgreens (69.9%) beat CVS (57.7%); American Eagle (61.5%) beat out The Gap (53.1%); Home Depot (57.9%) beat Lowe’s (53.9%).

“The Survey also says a lot about the mindset of the American consumer,” Beemer said. “In the top five, one is a discount store, one is a member warehouse, one is a dollar store, one offers closeouts and one is an online retailer. Consumers were very frugal this year as we said all along. They wanted deals and this is what happens when everyone wants a deal—record numbers of retailers were unable to keep up and they lost large numbers of customers.”

The results point reveals which retailers have a momentum heading into the new year, which ones will enter the new year with an excess of inventory and “which won’t survive next year.”

“How can you survive if you’re giving away one-third of your customer base?” Beemer asked. “Barnes & Noble was last on the list. Sears at 67.4% lost at least one-third of its customer base four or five years ago; and JCPenney at 67.1% lost all of that this year. You never want to give away one-third of customers and most did this year.”

Christmas retail sales should rise 1.8% to 2.8% this year, according to Beemer.

About ARG Research

The ARG research consisted of 1,000 telephone interviewed Dec. 22 to 23, at ARG headquarters in Charleston, SC. The error factor is plus or minus 3.8%. This concludes the most extensive study of Christmas shoppers by any research firm in America—seven national surveys from the first of November through this past weekend. The next ARG Christmas shopping survey will be conducted in October 2013. The surveys will continue every week through the shopping season of 2013 as they did in 2012.

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