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Buying answers

Which are the best chain-stores to shop for home-improvement goods?

The ones that offer the best service or advice. Price, selection, and quality were less important, says a Consumer Reports survey.

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Four chains earned above-average marks for service: Eagle Garden & Hardware, Home Depot, Lowe's, and Chase-Pitkin Home & Garden.

Lowe's, which targets women, rated well for its easy-to-navigate stores. Chase-Pitkin, a New York chain, rated highest for convenience.

Consumer Reports magazine, June 1999