Best places to shop

June 1, 2010 8:36:55 PM PDT
When it comes to shopping these days, everyone is looking to save money. But ending up with a poor quality product is no bargain. And having to hassle with long lines or phantom help is no fun. Consumer Reports National Research Center just surveyed 30,000 subscribers. The findings can help you locate the best places to shop.

Americans spend more money at discount stores than any other?stores like Target, K-Mart, and Walmart. Of total retail sales, 87 percent are at discounters. But Consumer Reports' survey reveals while Walmart's prices are pretty good, you can find equally good deals at ten other chains.

And almost 75% of Walmart shoppers polled reported a problem, such as long checkout lines and missing merchandise.

Target, another big discounter, rated better than Walmart. But even though it's known for "cheap chic" clothing, Target got some low marks for quality.

Costco and Dillard's came out on top in the survey. While Costco doesn't carry every product, people rated quality on home décor, hardware, jewelry, and watches much better than average, and its clothing did almost as well. Long checkout lines were the one complaint.

Besides being the top overall scorer, Costco has a great return policy, one of the most generous in the business. It has a 90-day return policy for electronics, but unlike other chains there's no restocking fee. With the exception of electronics, at Costco you can return anything, any time for any reason.

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