Best places to shop, for price and quality

FRESNO, Calif. Americans spend more money at discount stores than any other. Stores like Target ... Kmart ... and Wal-Mart. 87% of total retail sales are at discounters. But a Consumer Reports survey of America's top stores reveals there are deals to be had elsewhere.

Consumer Reports, Tod Marks said, "While Wal-Mart's prices are pretty good, we found the deals are at least as good at ten other chains."

And almost 75% of Wal-Mart shoppers polled reported a problem ... such as long checkout lines and missing merchandise.

Target, another big discounter, rated better than Wal-Mart. But even though it's known for "cheap chic" clothing, Target got some low marks for quality.

"We found that ... you know what ... not everybody thinks that "cheap chic" merchandise is anything to write home about. In fact, women's clothing and jewelry got below average scores," said Marks.

Costco, with its rock-bottom prices, comes out on top in the survey. Few customers we spoke with said...

"I like the variety of merchandise and of course the price."

"Great bargains."

"The price is great."

While Costco doesn't carry every product, people rated quality on home décor, hardware, jewelry, and watches much better than average, and its clothing did almost as well. Long checkout lines were the one complaint.

Marks said, "Besides being the top overall scorer, Costco has a great return policy, one of the most generous in the business. With the exception of electronics, you can return anything, anytime, for any reason."

Costco has a 90-day return policy for electronics, but unlike other chains, there's no restocking fee.

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