For shopaholics, Black Friday is the Main Event. The Holy Grail. The day they wait for all year. With cash and credit in hand, die-hard bargainistas hit the stores, looking for the best deals and the perfect gift for everyone on their list.
But what stores do they hit first? Is it just about saving money or do savvy shoppers pay less attention to cost than aesthetics, helpful staff and cleanliness? Out of the top bargain retailers: Wal-Mart, Target and Kmart, which store shines and lures in black-belt shoppers?
Our experts weigh in on why they choose to go where they go and spend their hard-earned holiday cash. Do you agree? What is your favorite discount retailer? Is price the most important factor or do you look at other factors when you choose where to spend?
From my experience, Target always has helpful employees while Wal-Mart never does and I have found Kmart to be hit-or-miss. Target believes customer is always right, offers its own coupons online and does price-matching. Wal-Mart always seems to have long checkout lines. In the end, what sways me and makes me choose Target is the organization, helpfulness and customer service there -- it far outweighs any cost savings I might find at Wal-Mart.
I have found Wal-Mart to outshine Target in many areas – especially online, with its availability of items and low shipping costs. Target requires you to have one of its credit or debit cards for most shipping deals. I scored black pants for school on Walmart.com after failing to find them elsewhere in the area. They shipped for only $0.97.
Also, I think some of Target's clothing is very poor quality, especially in the men's section. For movie buffs, Wal-Mart can’t be beat with special DVD offers and streaming on www.vudu.com.
About Kmart: I think the company is trying to improve but there’s a long way to go. The company’s new "Shop Your Way" program is being touted by lots of mom bloggers right now through sponsored posts. If Sears pumps the needed money into Kmart to partner with designers and other companies for unique items, they can catch up.
I agree that price is definitely not everything, but when it comes to certain items like toys and beauty products, I choose Wal-Mart over Target because it’s always much cheaper at Wal-Mart. However, Target is more aesthetically pleasing and therefore I prefer to shop there for items like clothing and home goods since they seem to have more of the 'design eye' I gravitate toward. I also love their baby products. I haven't shopped at Kmart in years mostly because I've never found their pricing to be very competitive and they are rarely in convenient locations.
In my opinion, Kmart's regular prices are quite inflated and stores aren't well-kept. Wal-Mart and Target are competitive in pricing. I like Target store brands better than Wal-Mart, in general and find Wal-Mart products to be a little more cheaply made.
I LOVE Target. They always seem to have the best customer service, a clean store, very organized and new and exciting products. The prices are competitive and many items are better quality than Wal-Mart and Kmart’s products.
Wal-Mart is not my first pick but I definitely do not mind stopping in there on occasion. I will go in there if it is near wherever I am shopping or if I am searching for a specific price on an item.
Kmart is a store I avoid. It just doesn't ever seem like it would have great quality of things to buy or great customer service. When stores started closing, I think they did not do a great job rehabilitating their image.
I completely agree with price not being everything and would also rank Target in the No. 1 spot. Target advertising and branding has always made it stand out in my opinion; from the bull’s eye dog to this year’s ad campaign featuring the Black Friday/holiday shopping mom. Target’s TV and print ads are usually memorable. Target does provide a cleaner store with organized displays that I enjoy browsing, which makes me stay longer and spend more. Wal-Mart prices give me peace of mind that I am not overspending; however, when shopping there, I get in and get out. I have not shopped at Kmart in years because Target and Wal-Mart meet my needs. After hearing the feedback about Kmart, I will not be going there anytime soon.