Nordstrom named consumers' No. 1 fashion retailer, again

Nordstrom store front facing mall

For the fifth year in a row, Nordstrom was ranked as the favorite fashion retailer among U.S. consumers. According to the retail study conducted by Market Force, the retailer scored a 64%, up 6% from 2016, in the rankings, and Dillard's made strides, up 16% from last year and scoring a 54%. 

Third-place retailer T.J. Maxx was close behind, earning a score of 53%, and Ann Taylor, Nordstrom Rack and Kohl's tied for the No. 4 spot with 50%. 

Nordstrom earned its spot for its value, atmosphere and ease of finding items, according to the poll. And Dillard's ranked first for the retailer that created a look and for finding correct sizes. T.J. Maxx and Ross were high on the rankings for merchandise selection and American Eagle earned the top spot for fastest checkout. And Dillard's earned a 40% or more in the rankings for all three categories: Value for money spent, store atmosphere and merchandise selection. 

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Less than half, 42%, of consumers reported being helped by a sales assistant during their last shopping trip. Consumers were helped out most often at Lane Bryant (75%) and Nordstrom (74%), while Target and T.J. Maxx ranked at the bottom of the list for sales assistance. 

“Sales associates are the front-line representatives for retailers, and how they engage with customers can make or break the shopping experience and impact sales,” said Cheryl Flink, chief strategy officer for Market Force Information. “The research shows that 90% of customers who were assisted by a sales associate bought something. When customers were not assisted, only 82% made a purchase. That 8% difference in conversion rate is a key reason why fashion retailers need to invest in their sales staff.”

Brick-and-mortar still runs strong for apparel, as 80% of shoppers reported buying at a physical store at least once in the past 90 days and more than half have shopped at least three times. Consumers chose where to shop based on value, followed by service, atmosphere and the ability to purchase via the web.

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And in e-commerce, 42% of consumers attested to visiting their favorite retailers website in the past 90 days, with 68% making a purchase. Which sites were most popular? Nordstrom, Macy's and American Eagle, with the most purchases being made on American Eagle, H&M and Kohl's.