Costco vs. BJ’s vs. Sam’s Club: Which warehouse club is best?

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People sometimes give money expert Clark Howard a hard time when he talks about how much he loves Costco, but he’s not the only one!

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), Costco leads the pack of retailers in the category of department and discount stores. The warehouse club got a score of 83 on a 100-point scale.

Meanwhile, competitors BJ’s Wholesale Club and Sam’s Club both earned an ACSI score of 80.

New report ranks America’s best department and discount stores

Taking a look at the big picture, the study found that customer satisfaction with department and discount stores is down 1.3% to 77. That’s likely due to the competition from online retailers like Amazon.

“It’s very challenging for brick-and-mortar retailers to weather the online onslaught without also providing a superior in-store customer experience,” the report said.

When it comes to other discount retailers on the list, Dollar Tree (77) had a higher score than Dollar General (73), while Target (77) beat out Walmart (71) by six points. All four stores were down compared to the previous year.

For department stores, Nordstrom was at the top of the list with an 81, while Sears scored the lowest with an ACSI score of 73.

Take a look below at ACSI’s department and discount store rankings, from best to worst:

Costco 83
All others (average of smaller stores) 81
Nordstrom 81
BJ’s Wholesale Club 80
Fred Meyer (Kroger) 80
Sam’s Club (Walmart) 80
Dillard’s 79
J.C. Penney 79
Kohl’s 79
Meijer 79
Belk 77
Dollar Tree 77
Macy’s 77
Target 77
Ross 76
Big Lots 74
Dollar General 73
Sears 73
Walmart 71

Source: ACSI

The annual ACSI Retail Report was based on 50,186 customer surveys collected throughout 2017. You can download a copy of the full report on the group’s website if you’re interested.

Clark tip: How to save money at Costco, BJ’s and Sam’s Club 

“Shop at stores with concrete floors” is Clark’s personal shopping motto. To avoid overspending, he has a rule that he doesn’t use a cart and only buys what he can carry in his hands — a tip many of his fans tell us they’ve started to follow.


Which warehouse club is best? Check out our Twitter poll and let us know what you think in the comments section below!

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