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BIGresearch Report: Shoppers Prefer Walmart, Target, Sears and Lowe's

Consumers who shopped in June said they preferred Lowe's over Home Depot and Walmart, Target and Sears over their competitors, according to BIGresearch's June '09 Retail Ratings Report.

BIGresearch is a consumer intelligence firm that provides analysis of behavior in areas of products and services, retail, financial services, automotive and media. The report's findings proved especially painful for Home Depot, which BIGresearch noted has lost almost half its lead over the past five years.

Adults ages 18 and older have increasingly preferred shopping Lowe's. Last month, 24.3% of them went to Lowe's versus 28.5% who concentrated on Home Depot. These figures show a closing in the gap in consumer preference between the two home improvement chains, compared to June 2005, when 31.4% of shoppers said they preferred Home Depot and 21.5% were for Lowe's.

BIGresearch also found that among consumers who reported a household income greater than $50,000, Home Depot's consumer preference share fell 2.6 points year-over-year while Lowe's share rose 2 points.

As for other retailers observed, Walmart saw a 1.1% increase in consumer preference to 6.3% compared to 5.2% in June 2008.

Target's gain was more modest at 0.2%, up to 0.7% from 0.6%, and Sears' consumer preference rating inched up also, by 0.1% to 0.7% from 0.6% during the same period the prior year.

The results were different among consumers with annual household incomes that are greater than $50,000.

At Walmart, consumer preference rose 2% to 31.6% from 29.6% in June 2008. But Sears experienced a 0.3% decline during the period in consumer preference, dropping to 0.7% from 0.9%. Target was not included in this segment of the report.

BIGresearch's "Retail Ratings Reports" are available monthly for 12 major merchandise categories, and are developed from BIGresearch's monthly Consumer Intentions & Actions (CIA) Survey of more than 8,000 online interviews.

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