CINCINNATI — Wal-Mart Stores  received the highest scores in a study of shopper loyalty conducted by Colloquy here.
The 2010 Colloquy Retail Loyalty Index shows that customers claimed the highest loyalty to Wal-Mart in many of the grocery and personal care regional categories, reflecting the importance of low prices in the recession.
The 2010 index was built from a December 2009 survey of 3,500 U.S. consumers in five regions: Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and Northwest. Respondents were surveyed across four retail categories that included grocery, personal care, department stores and mass merchants.
Wal-Mart garnered first-place consumer loyalty ratings in the grocery category for in the Northeast and Northwest, and third-place finishes in the Southeast, Southwest and the Midwest.
Kroger Co. , which has adopted a customer-centric focus and used a customer loyalty program through the recession, was the loyalty leader in the Midwest. In the Southeast, Publix Super Markets  moved up to first place from its second-place showing in 2008. In the Southwest, regional grocer H.E. Butt Grocery  ranked first.
“We’ve witnessed a profound change among consumers since the recession hit: Low prices have stepped up to become retail’s strongest loyalty lure according to consumers,” said Kelly Hlavinka, Colloquy partner, in a statement. “That is something which was simply not true in 2008.”
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