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Pictures From Sears, and They're Not All Pathetic

  • Sears and JCP consumer scores were significantly lower than other retailers that we have studied via our platform. We have collected customer satisfaction scores in apparel, consumer electronics, discount and food retail and have concluded that JCP/Sears have some of the lowest satisfaction scores.
  • JC Penney scored higher than Sears on consumer shopping intention -- 36% of shoppers intend to visit more over the next 3 months vs. only 14% for Sears.
  • Rewardable's qualitative assessment of photos showed that JC Penney stores were in better shape than Sears. Merchandise displays were more visually appealing, inventory was in-stock and stores appeared cleaner (you will see evidence from the photos).

A couple thoughts -- one, nothing there is shocking. While Sears might have us think otherwise, the conclusion that they rank low on customer satisfaction (and, as we'll see, lower than JCP) comes as no surprise. Two, I agree with Rewardable's take on the photographs. I decided not to print any from JCP because they're primarily neat and tidy, albeit uninspiring displays.

As for the Sears photos, Rewardable had its people visit the same sections in each store -- female apparel, Joe Boxer and the Craftsman section. If a respondent did not complete the task as requested their submission was not included in the analysis. In each section, the respondents were asked to focus on the visual attractiveness of the displays, noting displays that were unkempt.

Before we get to the pictures, here are the results of the survey:

  • 14% of respondents say they'll visit Sears more over the next three months than they have in the previous three months.
  • 78% will visit Sears the same amount over the next three months.
  • 8% will visit Sears less.
  • The JCP numbers came in at 36%, 62% and 3%, respectively.
  • In both cases, the most frequent reason given for wanting to return were related to low prices. Not a surprise as, after all, retail is mired in a price war. Respondents who will not return to Sears or JCP as much cite merchandise selection as the culprit.

On every assessment -- from customer service to merchandise selection and availability to cleanliness to price/value perception -- JCP scored higher than Sears. Overall, Sears had a 5.5 overall satisfaction score versus JCP's tally of 7.25. (On a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high)).

Must Read: Jim Cramer's 6 Stocks in 60 Seconds: VMW PCLN EW SEAS AOL FB (Update 1)

Because it's rarely reported in detail, but critically important, here are details on the methodology Rewardable used:

Rewardable used it nationwide consumer workforce that approaches 50,000 to collect data in 80 Sears and 120 JCP full-line stores across the country over 36 hours on Jan 11th and Jan 12th. The sample set of stores represented a 95% confidence level at Sears with (±10% margin of error) and a 95% confidence level at JCP with an (±8% margin of error). Our crowd sourced work force was preselected through our portal that screened through for JC Penney and Sears shoppers within the prior 3 months. Our crowd force responded to survey questions and photo requests which were put together by Rewardable on behalf of its clients. There was one survey response per store to get a geographically representative sample set.

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