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Best Buy, Wal-Mart Top CE Chains: Survey

4/01/2009 03:24:00 PM Eastern

Columbus, Ohio - Best Buy continues to be the store shopped most often for over one-third, 34.9 percent, of consumers for electronics, according to BIGresearch’s March 2009 Retail Ratings Report.

Up from 31 percent in March 2008, Best Buy’s growth in consumer preference share for electronics resulted in a Consumer Equity Index (CEI) of 112.69.  Number two Wal-Mart increased its share year-over-year (20.3 percent in Mar. 2009 v. 17.6 percent last year) with a CEI of 115.16.

Third place Target’s CEI of 126.23 shows a relatively substantial growth in consumer share. (CEI measures growth in share of customer preference year-over-year. An index of 100 is flat, while an index of 105 indicates 5 percent growth.)

These retailers also experienced positive growth, as evidenced in their CEI rating, which could be a possible by-product of Circuit City’s demise: Amazon (171.28), Costco (127.94, Sam's Club (118.81) and Fry's (107.29).

RadioShack was flat, with 0.8 percent of respondents citing the chain, and Sears, which was the fourth most-often shopped CE destination after Target with a 2.5 percent share, slipped one-tenth of a percentage point for a negative CEI rating of 95.5.

Wal-Mart bumped Best Buy out of the top position among consumers who report a household income of less than $50,000 this month. Wal-Mart’s share among this segment is 29.4 percent, compared to Best Buy’s 28.7 percent. However, Best Buy is a clear winner among consumers with a household income greater than $50,000, with a share of 45.6 percent, compared to Wal-Mart (12.4 percent) and Costco (3 percent).

“Best Buy and Walmart, with substantial gains in consumer preference share, seem likely to seize the opportunity to court Circuit City’ former customers,” said Pam Goodfellow, senior analyst at BIGresearch. “But with the void Circuit City is leaving in the electronics category, watch for retailers like Amazon or Sam’s Club to possibly rise to the occasion in coming months.”

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