These Are the Worst-Rated Stores in America
Did your least favorite store make the list?
What makes a company popular with its customers? Is it spectacular customer service? Impressive new product offerings? Knowledge that employees are being treated well? According to Axios and The Harris Poll, it’s all of the above.
Earlier this year, the two companies teamed up to publish the 20th edition of The Axios Harris Poll 100, surveying some 18,228 American shoppers to find out “what real people think right now about the companies in our cultural conversation,” taking into account things like visibility in society, trustworthiness, business trajectory, and company culture.
After crunching the numbers and putting together all of the responses, The Axios Harris Poll 100 came to a surprising conclusion: While convenience may have once been king, today’s consumers aren’t willing to compromise their values to enjoy it. While technologically savvy companies like Samsung and Sony ended up in the top 10 this year, controversial companies like Facebook, Tesla, and Chick-fil-A found themselves tumbling downward. (Tesla Motors went from #3 in 2018 to #42 in 2019!)
Though The Axios Harris Poll 100 includes airlines, tech companies, banks, and even the U.S. Government in its rankings, we’ve narrowed down the list to just the specialty retail and consumer goods retailers to bring you the worst-rated stores in America. So read on to find out whether you agree with America’s rankings.
Though CVS was able to earn itself a ranking that The Axios Harris Poll 100 considers to be “good,” its overall place in the poll is still just 48 out of 100. Why? While the customers interviewed ranked the retailer highly for both affinity and products and service, they weren’t quite as generous when it came to rating the store’s ethics, growth, citizenship, vision, culture, character, and trajectory.
While online marketplace eBay did relatively well in the vision and growth categories, what ended up holding it back—and ultimately bringing it down nine spots to 57th place since the year prior—was its low citizenship score. In the poll, consumers ranked a company’s citizenship based on whether they shared the same values and whether the company supported good causes—and evidently, there were quite a few people polled who didn’t feel like eBay was doing enough to give back.
Dick’s Sporting Goods
Like eBay, where Dick’s Sporting Goods fell shortest in The Axios Harris Poll was in the citizenship category. With an overall score of 72.5, the sporting goods store found itself in the 60th spot on the list, right under Starbucks and right above Hyundai.
Though Dollar Tree received “very good” rankings for its trustworthiness, growth, and vision, the brand didn’t do nearly as well in the products and services, culture, or character categories. Overall, the discount store ranks at number 65, down four spots from its ranking on last year’s list.
Given the decline of department stores in recent years, it comes as no surprise that Macy’s didn’t fare well in this year’s rankings. Down 11 spots from last year, the retailer came in 69th place on the list, only scoring positive marks in the growth, vision, and trajectory categories. It certainly doesn’t help that just a few years ago, Macy’s was one of the stores listed in a suit over alleged “fake” sale pricing.
Believe it or not, Target was one of the worst-rated stores in The Axios Harris Poll. The store moved down a shocking 23 spots from last year, putting it in the 72nd slot on the corporate reputation rankings list. Where Target fell shortest was in vision, where they ranked 82 out of 100, and culture, where they ranked 79 out of 100. Though not mentioned in the study, it’s quite possible that Target’s ranking is also suffering thanks to a major data breach it suffered in 2013, which affected more than 41 million customers.
Even Dollar General’s low prices couldn’t save its reputation in the public eye. In the “products and services” category—which The Axios Harris Poll defines as developing innovative products and services and offering high-quality products and services—the discount store took 89th place, bringing its overall ranking down nine places from last year to 76 out of 100.
Savvy shoppers might flock to Walmart for its low prices and high-quality generic products, but that doesn’t mean that they rank the retailer highly in overall corporate reputation. Rather, Walmart took the 79th spot on The Axios Harris Poll list, coming in 79th place for both affinity and citizenship, 86th place for products and service, and a staggering 94th place for culture.
After 116 years in business, JCPenney still hasn’t managed to figure out how to appeal to its customer base. Not only did the department store end up at number 83 on The Axios Harris Poll list, it also ranked in the bottom ten in terms of growth, vision, and business trajectory. And considering its faltering reputation, it’s no surprise that CNBC recently reported that as many as 100 JCPenney stores could close by the end of 2019.
Out of the top 100 most visible companies in the United States, Sears saw its overall corporate reputation in a concerning 97th place. In terms of growth, culture, product and services, ethics, trust, organizational character, vision, business trajectory, and citizenship, the company ranked in the bottom 10 every time. What’s perhaps most concerning, though, is the fact that the retailer also ranked in the bottom 10 in terms of companies that have captured the attention of Millennial and Gen X buyers, two of the biggest emerging demographics.
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