Today the “retail apocalypse” is a recurring theme in the media. Read one too many accounts of high profile closures and bankruptcies and you might think that there is no future for brick and mortar retail.
But look a little closer and you might see a different picture — that we are living through a period of transition and (to paraphrase Mark Twain) rumors of retail’s demise are greatly exaggerated. After all, online retailers such as Warby Parker, Bonobos and Amazon have opened physical locations in the past few years.
Here’s a clue as to why: around 91% of all retail sales last year were made at a brick-and-mortar location, while one study predicts that the number will stand at 80% in 2025. Online shopping may be convenient, but it can’t replace the immediateness and in-store experience physical locations have to offer when done well. However, brick-and-mortar retailers need to focus on innovation to keep pace with change.
So with all that in mind, we wanted to know which are the top-rated workplaces in the retail sector this year. Our data analytics team looked beyond the news headlines, analyzing data from over 100 million ratings and reviews listed on Indeed Company Pages to find out.
Supermarket chain H-E-B leads diverse mix of retailers
Reclaiming the top spot is last year’s number one, Texas-based supermarket chain H-E-B. In fact, grocery and convenience stores make a strong showing on this year’s list, occupying four of the top five positions.
San Antonio-based H-E-B is taking the principle of innovation to heart, as it thinks like a tech company by opening a facility dedicated to innovation and grocery technology in Austin, Texas. This comes after the company’s recent acquisition of food-delivery service Favor earlier this year, giving the grocery chain access to the company’s consumer-facing tech and on-demand delivery system.
Following H-E-B is Costco Wholesale, up from fifth place last year, while New York-based Wegmans places third, up from sixth place last year. Wegmans is staying ahead of the game by innovating their in-store experience and recently became the first supermarket chain in the nation to offer services through Aira, which allows blind and visually impaired users the opportunity to use their smartphone as a second pair of eyes. The service lets users find specific grocery items such as a particular brand of cereal from store shelves.
Clothing and apparel retailers also receive a lot of love from their employees. Athletics giant Nike ranks fourth, making it the only company in the top five that isn’t a grocery or convenience store chain. Nike recently made headlines for its controversial ad campaign featuring former NFL star Colin Kaepernick. The firm is also innovating with “digital demand sensing,” which is intended to make their supply chain system faster and more flexible.
At number 10 we see luxury department store chain Nordstrom, followed by a string of apparel retailers such as footwear chain Foot Locker at number 11, while Gap Inc., one of the largest fashion and clothing retailers in the world, ranks at number 17.
Other retailers scoring great reviews include telecommunications company T-Mobile (#6), and multinational personal care and beauty chain Sephora, which ranked eighth. The company recently combined its digital and physical retail teams into one department, with the goal to drive more customer loyalty by combining in-store and online loyalty perks.
The best of the best: what the top five retailers are doing right
HQ: San Antonio, Texas
The San Antonio-based supermarket chain has once again claimed the top spot on this list. So what is it about H-E-B that makes it such a great place to work?
“All of the managers genuinely care about your well-being and help you learn,” says an employee. “You pick up a lot of great customer service skills and work with very friendly people.”
Another employee enjoys working at H-E-B because employees’ voices are heard, they feel like they are considered “partners and not just workers” and employees are given many opportunities to learn a new role and advance in their careers.
One employee praised H-E-B for being an outstanding company, noting that “everyone is treated fairly” and that corporate leadership who visit the store actually seem to care about employees, making them feel “valued and respected.”
HQ: Issaquah, Washington
Costco Wholesale is a chain of membership-only warehouse clubs where people can buy groceries and other goods in bulk. The retail giant moved up on the list from number five on last year’s list.
One reason Costco might be consistently ranked so highly by its employees is because the company “understands the importance of providing a fair working wage and caring for their employees.”
Another employee says, “The pay is great, benefits are great and they have a lot of good programs for their employees to register for that can get them huge deals on cars, trips and a host of other things.”
Finally, one worker summed it up, saying that working at Costco is fast-paced but well organized and that the experience will increase your personal growth and work ethic. The employer also enjoyed the “great benefits and competitive pay.”
HQ: Rochester, NY
Wegmans, a New York-based supermarket chain, ranks third on our list. A common thread among reviews is the management’s respect and support for the employees, as well as the bountiful advancement and learning opportunities.
“I learned the importance of teamwork, management skills, problem solving, interpersonal skills and time management,” says one employee.
Another praised the management especially, saying, “The managerial staff was excellent and willing to work with you. Managers are made extremely accessible to employees, and you can have very grounded conversations with them.”
“The opportunities for advancement were incredible if you showed good work ethic and care for your work,” said another employee. “I felt supported and heard if I even voiced concerns. I would recommend it to anyone who asked.”
HQ: Beaverton, Oregon
This sportswear giant has a lot of fans — and not just among their customers, but also people who work there.
One Nike employee said the company is one of the best they’ve ever worked for, while another adds, “It’s a very exciting place to work. The people there are very friendly and outgoing. The managers are always there to help you out whenever you need something. They work with your schedule.”
Another praised the “very positive and driven environment provided” and said that opportunities presented themselves to those who did their part. The worker also says that the few years spent working at Nike made the employee want to pursue a career with Nike in the long run.
Says another, “The pay, benefits, and culture are very good within Nike as their employees are one of their top focuses besides their consumers.”
HQ: Tulsa, OK
“Quiktrip is a wonderful and very fast-paced job. All the workers are very upbeat and always helping each other out, as well as customers. I would recommend anybody to work here.”
Quiktrip is a convenience store chain and primarily operates in the Midwest, South and Southeastern United States. Their employees love working there, and it’s no surprise, as employee reviews bring up many references to “family” when talking about working at Quiktrip.
Says one employee, “This was a great job to have working with great people. Quiktrip really cares about its workers, customers and its community. Only the best is expected from its workers, and that makes it a much better place to work.”
Another likes working at QuikTrip because it’s very “family oriented” and the managers are “very willing to help you move up.” Not only that, but “compensation is fair for full-time employees.” The workers are also very upbeat and try their hardest to help one another out.