That would be Abercrombie & Fitch, which made its bare-chested debut on the ACSI specialty retailers index with a horrid 65 out of 100, a full 12 points below the sector’s average and seven points under the next-lowest scorer (Advance Auto Parts). In fact, A+F’s 65 was the lowest score in all of retail for 2015.
Perhaps the clothing store can chalk it up to the old sports cliche of a “rebuilding year,” as Abercrombie kicked off 2015 saying goodbye to controversial CEO Mike Jeffries — the man who looked like Gary Busey in Lethal Weapon but had the tact of a Mean Girls character.
The company sold its private jet, put shirts back on its army of chiseled-ab dudes, and had more realistic expectations about requiring all of its employees to look like models — but apparently the store hasn’t learned how to satisfy customers yet. There’s always next year.
Meanwhile, Walmart showed a remarkable level of consistency — placing dead last in each of the sectors for which it was scored.
In the department and discount stores index, Walmart’s score of 66 — a 2-point drop from last year — was eight points off the average and five points lower than Sears. That’s right: the retailer whose own ads acknowledge that no one shops there, outscored Walmart by a significant margin.
Not a single retailer in this category saw a year-over-year improvement, with the most precipitous drop belonging to Macy’s, which managed to shave six points off its 2014 score and end up with a 73 — barely enough to beat Sears.
“Macy’s is in a tough spot as it tries to figure out how to best allocate resources between storefront and online channel,” explains ACSI Managing Director David VanAmburg in a statement. “Closing stores and reducing workforce might help the bottom line in the short term, but only at the expense of customer satisfaction, which could create problems in the long term.”
The race for the bottom was tighter on the supermarkets index, where Walmart actually tied for last with Pennsylvania-based Giant Eagle. The two retailers eked out scores of 67, only five points off the average for all supermarkets, and only one point behind Albertsons.
While Walmart might be the caboose in the supermarket satisfaction train, Target may be quickly on its way to the rear. The retailer dropped an astounding 10 points from 2014, leaving it with a below-average score of 71. Likewise, Whole Foods — which recently admitted to practices that overcharged for packaged food items — fell from an 81 to the industry average of 73 in a single year.
The bottom of the barrel was also more crowded in the health and personal care index, where Walmart’s 68 was right on the heels of fellow low-scorers Safeway and Rite Aid (both 69).