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Loyalty marketing consultant and publisher Colloquy has released its national Retail Loyalty Index, ranking Costco as U.S. consumers' choice for loyalty in the Grocery, Personal Care and Mass Merchant categories.

According to a statement released by Colloquy, “Across five geographical regions, Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and Northwest, Costco was the national winner in the Grocery category. The warehouse club was the first choice of consumers in two regions, the Southwest and Southeast. Publix was a close runner up and H-E-B followed.

“Costco also was consumers' loyalty favorite among Personal Care retailers, winning three regions and placing in the top three in the other two. Wal-Mart was the runner-up in this category, suggesting that consumers are more price conscious in this sector than others. The highest-rated stand-alone pharmacist in this category was Rite-Aid … In the Mass Merchant category, the discount club Costco garnered most loyalty from bargain hunters nationwide. Target was runner up, followed by Wal-Mart.

“Drawing a distinction between loyalty and frequency, the Colloquy Retail Loyalty Index shows that Wal-Mart is the dominant U.S. retailer for consumer shopping frequency. Consumers across all categories shop at Wal-Mart more than any other retailer. But Wal-Mart did not register equally high loyalty ratings from respondents to the Colloquy survey. While Wal-Mart's Everyday Low Price (EDLP) tactics have made it the world's number one retailer, other retailers who attempt to emulate Wal-Mart's success will find that the EDLP model of retailing comes at a cost.”

KC's View:
If I had to guess, I’d say that one of Wal-Mart’s primary goals during this time of economic hardship in the US – which is helping to fuel its resurgence in a number of categories – should be to convert frequency into loyalty. By doing so, Wal-Mart will be even stronger when times get better. If it doesn’t make this shift, then it will find itself with a cyclical approach to business…which doesn’t serve it in the long term.

If I had to guess.