In today’s world of retail, subscription boxes and “buy with one click” features promise convenience and a seamless shopping experience. Digital consumerism is key in the age of smartphones, with reports predicting that 69% of millennials will use their phones to shop this holiday season.

But even in the age of instant online shopping fulfillment, consumers still value the in-store experience, especially younger shoppers. And this doesn’t just apply to generations who grew up with the in-person experience. Despite ongoing disruption in brick-and-mortar retail, research shows that even Gen Z consumers — often described as “digital natives” — still value the aesthetic of a well-curated store experience, where they can disconnect from social media and the digital world as they shop. In fact, digitally native brands are set to open 850 stores in the next five years.

So as the world changes, we wanted to know: which retailers are knocking it out of the park here and now? Our data analytics team dove into over 180 million ratings and reviews listed on Indeed Company Pages to determine this year’s Top-Rated Workplaces: Best Retailers.

Texas-based supermarket chain H-E-B tops a diverse blend of retailers

Table showcasing the 25 top-rated retailers, based on employer ratings and reviews on Indeed in 2019.
This table shows the 25 top-rated retailers, based on employer ratings and reviews on Indeed. The list reads as follows: 1) HEB, 2) Vans, 3) Costco Wholesale, 4) Nike, 5) Wegmans, 6) QuikTrip, 7) Best Buy, 8) T-Mobile, 9) Publix, 10) Nordstrom, 11) Bath & Body Works, 12) Foot Locker, 13) Sephora, 14) Hobby Lobby, 15) American Greetings, 16) American Eagle Outfitters, 17) Gap, 18) The Home Depot, 19) Whole Foods Market, 20) Sherwin-Williams, 21) T.J. Maxx, 22) Verizon, 23) Kohl’s, 24) Hot Topic Inc., 25) Marshalls

Some familiar retailers from last year’s list return to this year’s ranking, with H-E-B, Costco Wholesale and Wegmans continuing the supermarket trend in the top five.

H-E-B has secured the top spot for the past three years, and the Texas-based supermarket chain is making moves to develop a space beyond groceries. Construction of a new lakefront store in Austin, Texas, begins this month, with expected completion in 2021. The new space will feature a two-story porch and overlook Lake Austin, in addition to a coffee shop, tree-lined walking paths and a community gathering plaza.

Following the supermarket trend is Quiktrip at number six and Publix at number nine. Both grocery store chains are on the rise — Quiktrip opened its 800th store location nationwide in April, and Publix plans to expand grocery delivery to all of its markets through third-party company Instacart by 2020, which further alludes to the rising hybridization of the physical and online shopping experiences.

Both Sephora at number 12 and American Eagle Outfitters at number 16 are back again on this year’s list, and Sephora recently topped a ranking of retail personalization for the third straight year. The beauty brand earned high marks for personalizing the user experience, with high functionality on mobile platforms and email customization focused on personalized product recommendations. As for American Eagle Outfitters, the young adult clothing brand just declared its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, a decision based on the brand’s commitment to youth and mission to build a better world for future generations.

Department stores wrap up this year’s list of retailers, with T.J. Maxx at number 21, Kohl’s at number 22 and Marshall’s at number 24. Discount retailer Marshall’s revealed a plan to launch the store’s first online website, which will feature a fresh mix of merchandise that mimics its famous in-store treasure hunt experience, while retail chain Kohl’s announced the introduction of Curated by Kohl’s, a new selection of products from emerging brands available in more than 50 Kohl’s stores, as well as online.

The best of the best: what the top 5 retailers are doing right

1. H-E-B

Founded: 1905

HQ: San Antonio, TX

For the third year in a row, the San Antonio-based supermarket chain has taken the top spot among retailers.

With locations throughout Texas and northeastern Mexico, H-E-B is beloved by loyal shoppers — but what makes it stand out as the best place to work?

One employee praised the support of individual growth and potential for advancement, as well as the “flexible hours, fun environment and staff that cares.”

“H-E-B is a very hands-on learning job, high on hospitality,” says another employee. “It’s not only fun to work there, but you have a lot of opportunities to move around in the company in different departments.”

For the size of the company, many employees feel the tight-knit culture and family-oriented values make it feel like “your local grocery store.”

“H-E-B is by far one of the best places to work in the state of Texas,” says another employee. “If you get hired here, it’s one job you would really want to keep.”

2. Vans

Founded: 1966

HQ: Costa Mesa, California

Known for their trendy skateboarding shoes and apparel, the southern California fashion line is embraced by everyone, on or off a skateboard. As a brand, Vans embodies self-expression and authenticity, and this culture seems to be reflected in their employee experience.

They stand for being yourself, and represent expression and its importance,” says one employee. “They care for their employees and stay true to their values.”

Another employee praised the cohesive atmosphere, where “your coworkers become your friends and everyone is really cool.”

“Vans is such an accepting environment — everyone comes together from different backgrounds, but we are all one,” says another employee. “We are a family.”

3. Costco Wholesale

Founded: 1983

HQ: Issaquah, Washington

This membership-only warehouse chain is famous for their abundance of low-priced groceries and bulk goods — and of course, delighting shoppers with a variety of food samples. As for Costco employees, plenty of praise goes to the supportive management and fast-paced environment.

They always care for their employees,” says one employee. “Everyone is willing to help and teach you, from the day you start to wherever you want to reach in your Costco career.”

Another employee spoke highly of the work environment, describing it as “fast paced and always something to do.” But in the midst of the hustle and bustle, the feeling of belonging is appreciated.

“The best part of the job is the sense of family,” says another employee. “As you grow there, you meet many long-lasting friends. They become as close as family.”

4. Nike

Founded: 1964

HQ: Beaverton, Oregon

With a signature motto of “Just Do It,” it’s no surprise this leader in athletic footwear and apparel is regarded as a goal-driven, team-oriented place to work.

“Nike is about creativity, being able to multitask and also enjoying what you do,” says one employee. “Sometimes you will see yourself in a difficult situation, but your managers will always be by your side.”

Another employee described the environment as a “wonderful and open-minded community,” a sentiment that seems to tie back to the sportswear giant’s management.

“My managers are easy to talk to and help with anything I need. They are always willing to put aside whatever it is they are doing to help,” says another employee. “Every day I walk into my job, it’s always a happy mood.”

5. Wegmans

Founded: 1916

HQ: Rochester, NY

A family-owned supermarket chain based in New York, Wegmans is regarded as a workplace that manifests teamwork and remains true to company values.

“Although the workplace can be very hectic, we all work together,” says one employee. “All the employees understand the values that this company upholds and can admire everything that management does for not only their customers, but their employees.”

Another employee described Wegmans as a “truly family-based company,” and another emphasized the “diverse and efficient work environment.” 

Although the supermarket chain is praised for a productive work atmosphere and plenty of opportunities for advancement, the company does not dismiss opportunities to bond among coworkers.

“Employees here not only help customers, but they also help each other,” says another employee. “There are lots of employee celebrations which can include free food, drinks, lottery entries, and interactive activities.”