Best Places To Shop

When it comes to shopping these days, everyone is looking to save money. But ending up with a poor-quality products is no bargain.

Consumer Reports National Research Center just surveyed 30,000 subscribers. The findings-cover 11 retail chains--can help you find the best places to shop.

Americans spend more money at discount stores than any other-stores like Target, Kmart, and Walmart.

87% of total retail sales are at discounters, but a Consumer Reports survey of America's top stores reveals there are deals to be had elsewhere.

Tod Marks of Consumer Reports says, "While Walmart's prices are pretty good, we found the deals are at lease as good as 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.

Marks says, "We found that-you know what-not everybody thinks that "cheap chic" merchandise is anything to write home about. In fact, women's clothing and jewelry got below average scores."

Costco, with its rock-bottom prices, comes out on top in the survey.

While Costco doesn't carry every product, people rated quality on home decor, hardware, jewelry, and watches much better than average, and its clothing do almost as well. Long checkout lines were the one complaint.

Marks says, "Besides being the top overall scorer, Costco has a great return policy, one of the most generous in the business. With the exception of electronics, you can return anything, anytime, for any reason."

Costco has a 90-day return policy for electronics, but unlike other chains, there's no restocking fee.

Consumer Reports says another way to track down bargains is to sign up for cell-phone texts alerts on store sales.


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