Top Shopping

You’ve seen our overall top picks. Now, here’s the lowdown on which stores lead the way within specific categories—including ones that didn’t make our top 10 list

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Top department stores
Why they’re tops If only…
True Value “The staff showed a true concern for the customer’s needs.” “it had more locations.”
The Bay “It merchandised really well and displays were especially appealing.” “it was easier to find staff.”
Sears “The focus was on simple navigation with aisles wide enough for a baby stroller.” “the checkout experience wasn’t so confusing.”

Top hardware stores
Why they’re tops If only…
Glidden Paints “Its employees really wanted to help.” “it had more staff.”
Color Your World “The clerks’ paint expertise gave you confidence.” “the display paint- brushes and floor weren’t so dusty and dirty.”
Castle Building Centres “Individual attention made you feel as if you were talking to a hired contractor.” “it had displays showcasing home-decorating ideas.”

Top specialty shops
Why they’re tops If only…
Claire’s “The glam jewelry, playful decor and congenial staff made this one great place to shop.” “the staff let customers try on more jewelry.”
The Body Shop “Clerks came up with lots of helpful suggestions based on our specific needs.” “the store wasn’t so aromatic.”
Peoples Jewellers “The staff really seemed to encourage special requests.” “the staff knew that great service doesn’t make up for lack of selection.”

Top health food and drug stores
Why they’re tops If only…
GNC “The staff was clearly well trained and knowledgeable—a must in this field.” “the shelves weren’t so high and out of reach.”
Nutrition House “The clerk could provide a product for every request I made.” “the products were self-explanatory.”
The Medicine Shoppe “Attentive staff made you feel as if you were getting personalized service.” “it wasn’t so difficult to get to these places. Many aren’t in malls, but in medical centres.”

Top womenswear stores
Why they’re tops If only…
Smart Set “The staff were genuinely happy to help you and made great suggestions.” “the merchandise in the store was better organized.”
Northern Traditions “No-attitude staff, soft music and good lighting made for a very inviting ambience.” “the casual business clothes were made with a more durable material than cotton.”
Roots “Tell the clerk your budget and he or she will find something you can afford.” “it had more variety in its shoes and handbags.”