Winning Sports Stores

Whether you're outfitting yourself or getting your kids ready for their favorite sport, where you shop can make a big difference. A new Consumer Reports National Research Center survey reveals the best places to gear up.

Customers at this local sporting goods store come back again and again.

"They're amazing here! They're great."

To see which sports stores earn high scores with customers, Consumer Reports surveyed more than 26-thousand readers.

Tod Marks of Consumer Reports says, "We asked readers what mattered most. Things like selection, service, and value."

Among the stores rated-big names like Dick's Sporting Goods and Sports Authority, as well as Walmart, Kmart, Sam's Club, Costco...and Target. Readers weighed in on independent stores, too.

The most popular stores to shop at were Dick's Sporting Goods and Sports Authority. But that doesn't mean they're a home run.

Marks says, "When it comes to value, when it came to selection, when it come to the knowledge and the helpfulness of the service, it was kind of middle of the road."

Walmart, Kmart, and Sam's Club scored even lower for service and checkout.

Costco's warehouse stores-known for great value and quality-rated well in those areas. But, no surprise, the survey found selection is limited and service minimal.

Outdoor stores like REI and L.L. Bean rated high for things like value, service, and quality.

Marks says, "88 percent of readers were highly satisfied with their experiences at local independent sporting goods stores, at pro shops."

So the next time you're in the market for some sports gear, you might want to give your local store a try.

Consumer Reports says specialty stores-those that cater to a single sport like golf, tennis, or biking-also did well in its survey.

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