By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Big chain stores can be found in practically every large strip mall and shopping center in America, and each offers a different experience for shoppers. But how do they all stack up? 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan has the results of a recent shopper survey.

Bright signs, big parking lots, tons of locations. Big retailers like Target, Sears, Sam’s Club and Kohl’s seem to be everywhere. But the question is which chain is most popular with shoppers?

In the March edition of Consumer Reports Magazine, 26,000 shoppers were surveyed on their experiences at big chain stores. Costco came out the winner. The discounter was rated tops in quality of merchandise both in-store and online. The chain also won high marks for its electronics, sporting goods and jewelry. Costco was the only one of the ten chains in the survey to get an “outstanding” overall rating.

Both Kohl’s and JCPenney scored high, earning the second and third highest overall scores. People were especially happy with the value and layout at Kohl’s stores.

Target shoppers liked having an easy-to-navigate floor plan. But online shoppers say the Target website isn’t always easy to use.

Macy’s website, on the other hand, got very positive reviews. The chain finished fifth and was rated better-than-average for product quality and layout.

Sears customers complained the most about their online customer service experiences, while Sam’s Club customers complained of long check-out lines.

Bringing up the rear were K-Mart and Wal-Mart, in that order. Both chains scored much lower than other retailers. In fact, 13 percent of Wal-Mart and K-Mart customers reported hidden or missing price tags.

For more information on Consumer Reports shopping survey, click here.

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