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jdpower-retailer-satisfaction-home-improvement-may11.gifFor a fifth consecutive year, Ace Hardware ranks highest in satisfying home improvement retail store customers, achieving a score of 786 on a 1,000-point scale, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study.

Lowe’s, Menards Also Beat Industry Average

Ace’s score of 786 is well above the industry average of 754. Also beating this score are Lowe’s (771) and Menards (765). Lowe’s moved from fourth place in 2010 to second place this year, while Menards retained its third place spot.

Ace performs particularly well in the two most influential factors analyzed by J.D. Power: staff and service and store facility. Lowe’s performs particularly well in the merchandise factor, while Menards performs particularly well in the sales/promotions and price factors.

The study, now in its fifth year, measures customer satisfaction with home improvement retail stores, based on performance in five factors (listed in order of importance): staff and service (including availability, courtesy, knowledge); store facility (including ease of finding merchandise and cleanliness); merchandise (including availability and product information); price; and sales and promotions.

Satisfaction w/Facilities Grows Most

Home improvement store shoppers are more satisfied with store facilities, merchandise and pricing in 2011, compared with 2010. In addition, J.D. Power analysis indicates that not only has overall satisfaction with store facilities improved compared with 2010, but also home improvement store customers indicate that they are more satisfied with store facilities than any other aspect of the retail experience.

Weekday Visits Increase

Although most customers indicate they visit home improvement stores on weekends, there has been a roughly 21% year-over-year increase in the percentage of shoppers who make weekday visits. In 2011, 41% of customers say they shop during the week, compared with 34% in 2010.

Other Findings

  • The average customer in 2011 has spent $1,650 at home improvement retailers within the past 12 months.
  • In 2011, customers spent 6% more of their overall annual expenditure at their primary home improvement store (72%) than in 2010 (68%).
  • The percentage of shoppers who say they used a self-checkout kiosk grew 26%, from 42% in 2010 to 53% in 2011.

Amex: Home Improvement Spending Down 45%

While the number of people planning to make home improvements is similar to 2010 (62%), the amount they are planning to spend is significantly less, according to the March 2011 American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. The average spend figure is dropping 45% from an average of $6,200 in 2010 to $3,400 in 2011. Even though American Express analysis indicates homeowners’ confidence in the real estate market has increased compared to last year, less than half (43%) believe they would get the asking price for their home if it was on the market today.

About the Data: The 2011 US Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study, published by J.D. Power and Associates, is based on responses from more than 6,900 consumers who purchased a home improvement product or service within the previous 12 months from a store that sells home improvement products. Consumers were asked to evaluate their primary home improvement retailer. The study was fielded in March and April 2011, and is the source of the enclosed chart.

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