08/19/2013 01:28 EDT | Updated 10/19/2013 05:12 EDT

HBC beats Target in recent customer satisfaction survey but Costco ahead of both

TORONTO - Hudson's Bay Co. appears to be winning more praise from shoppers, while Target has lost ground in recent months but both retailers trail Costco in customer-satisfaction, according to surveys from Forum Research.

The market research firm says 40 per cent of the consumers it polled last week were "very satisfied" with their experience at HBC in the last 12 months — up from 35 per cent in Forum's previous poll, done four months earlier.

Meanwhile, the Forum found only 27 per cent of those polled indicated they were "very satisfied" with their experience at Target — which began opening its first Canadian stores in March.

Target, which acquired most of HBC's former Zellers locations, had scored higher in Forum's previous survey, when 32 per cent of those polled indicated they were "very satisficed" with their experience at the discount retailer.

Meanwhile, Costco Wholesale Corp. (Nasdaq:COST) came out on top of the latest Forum study, with 62 per cent of respondents reporting they were "very satisfied" with their shopping experience at the store in the past 12 months.

The telephone survey of random sample of more than 1,500 Canadians on Aug. 14, is considered statistically accurate to plus or minus three per cent, 19 times out of 20.

The study comes as HBC prepares to buy U.S. luxury retailer Saks Inc. for US$2.9 billion as part of the Canadian company's efforts to reposition itself in a changing marketplace.

HBC has said Saks will be added to its U.S. holdings — primarily the Lord & Taylor chain in the U.S. Northeast — and the Saks brand will be introduced to Canada.

Most of HBC's former Zellers locations have been taken over by Target, the Minneapolis-based discount retailer.

Target began opening its first Canadian stores in March, starting in Ontario.

Meanwhile, Saks reported Monday that it had a second-quarter loss of US$19.6 million, or 13 cents per share, higher than analysts had expected.