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A middle of the pack ranking for pharmacy

Target was in the top half of a group of 33 pharmacy retailers ranked by readers of Consumers Reports in the publication’s May issue. Target’s pharmacy received a score of 88 out of a possible 100, which put it well ahead of larger pharmacy operators such as CVS and Walgreens, both of which scored 82 and last-ranked Walmart, which scored 78.

While Target fared much better than some of its rivals, it lagged behind others such as top-ranked independent drug stores that scored 93. The survey was based on 43,795 reader responses who answered questions about speed and accuracy, helpfulness and courtesy, knowledge and personal service.

While lists and ranking are always interesting, in this case the numbers are essentially meaningless for a number of reasons. For starters, despite the large sample size, the information is more than a year old, as it was based on reader experiences between April 2009 and April 2010. In addition, Consumer Reports notes that differences of less than five points are not meaningful, which put’s Target with its ranking of 88 within five points of 28 of the 33 other pharmacy operators on the list. Then there is the issue of the composition of the sample, which consisted of the readership base of the publication and therefore is not representative of the U.S. population. 

Despite all of these methodology shortcomings, it still looks better to be a retailer in the middle of the pack on the rankings, as was the case with Target, as opposed to in the bottom quartile like CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Giant Eagle and H-E-B, Fred Meyer and Kroger.

Even so, readers who bother to look at the fine print will notice that even bottom ranked Walmart with a score of 78 satisfies most of its customers. The publication notes that a score of 80 meant readers were very satisfied and even a score of 60 meant readers were fairly well satisfied.

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