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Retail Industry Report Card; & REI Highest Rated Retailers

Tis the season for retail! Retailers are hoping that this holiday season will bring some cheer in what has been a dreary year for sales.  While the US Commerce Department provided some good news that sales at U.S. retailers climbed 1.2 percent in October – the most in seven months – companies are still hoping that consumers will open their wallets a little further this holiday season.

As we get inundated with holiday ads and shopping lists, we pulled together the latest industry report card which looks at how more than 100 retailers and their CEOs compare according to their employees. As it’s the employees that really do make these retailers tick throughout the year; their perspective is intriguing and could perhaps affect consumer’s buying habits.

The Glassdoor report highlights companies that focus on everything from high-end clothing, beauty products, books, housewares, jewelry, music, toys and sporting goods – all the things that make our holidays bright and our wallets light. To be included in the evaluation, companies had to have at least 20 reviews submitted by employees on Glassdoor.

The Highlights: leads the retail pack with a 4.0 (satisfied) rating, and CEO Patrick M. Byrne earns a 92% employee approval. Other retailers that earned high ratings from employees include: REI (3.6), Maurices (3.6), NIKE (3.5), Coach (3.5), Hot Topic (3.5), Costco Wholesale (3.5) and Nordstrom (3.5).

Costco Wholesale’s chief Jim Sinegal follows Byrnes with a 91% employee approval rating. Other top rated CEOs in the retail industry are The Gap’s Glenn Murphy (90%), Men’s Wearhouse’s George Zimmer (88%) and Nordstrom’s Blake Nordstrom (86%). (This is also based on CEOs who have received at least 20 reviews or more.)

Below we take a look at how department stores compare and take a deep dive into how large discount stores, popular online retailers and sports/recreation retailers compare beyond their overall company rating. Plus see what other retailers made this year’s industry report card.

Department Stores

Nordstrom’s employees are especially satisfied (3.5) especially when compared to other department stores like Macys (2.9), Kohls (2.9), Sears (2.7) and Dillards (2.3). Only two CEOs at the department stores have approval ratings over 70% – this includes Nordstrom’s Blake Nordstrom (86%) and Saks Fifth Avenue’s Steve Sadove (85%).

Large Discount Stores

In a deep dive into how big box discount stores compared beyond their overall company rating, we find Target receives the highest marks when compared to Kmart and Wal-Mart. In seven of the eight workplace categories, Target rates high with employees in areas such as satisfaction with compensation and benefits (3.3) and work/life balance (3.3). Wal-Mart ties with Target however in employee satisfaction with career opportunities (3.1).

Top Online Retailers

According to ForeSee Results’ Holiday Retail Satisfaction Index,, Netflix and QVC rated the highest for customer satisfaction respectively. However, among the three, Netflix employees are the most satisfied, especially in relation to compensation & benefits (3.9) and communication (3.5). ranks higher than both Netflix and QVC when it comes to career opportunities (3.3) and employee morale (3.5).

Recreation Retailers

For those who are thinking about buying a gift for someone who likes to head outdoors for fun and relaxation, REI might be the place to go. REI employees are the most satisfied, giving the company a 3.6 company rating and across all eight workplace factors. They are followed by Dick’s Sporting Goods (3.2), Academy Sports & Outdoors (2.9) Bass Pro Shops (2.6) and Sports Authority (2.5).

Below is the complete break out of the retail industry report card that highlights companies with at least 20 employee reviews on Glassdoor.

If you work in the retail industry, tell us what your job is like by sharing a company review on Glassdoor and see how it compares next year.