's won first place in the latest rankings of online apparel retailers by Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR). Forrester PowerRankings combines survey data from online consumers and shopping tests to provide rankings of the leading US e-commerce sites.

After winning two previous apparel PowerRankings, Lands' End winds up in second place. Its customer service representatives pick up the telephone in seconds and the return policy is unconditional, but online order tracking requires entering a 26-digit code from the order confirmation email, tax is estimated, and there is no express checkout.

L.L.Bean comes in a strong third with clear inventory information, search results that can be refined, and fast email responses. But the site's to-do list should include creating an express checkout and adding online order status and history.

"In its first PowerRankings appearance, Nordstrom managed to defeat two-time champion Lands' End," said Tom Rhinelander, senior analyst at Forrester Research. "Both sites offer excellent customer service, but Nordstrom's top scores in features, delivery, and returns put it over the top."

Weak scores across the board sink J.C. Penney to last place. Shoppers must endure the longest first-time checkout process of the ranked sites, and the order total is not given at checkout or in the order confirmation email. However, loyal customers have the option to pick up or return purchases at stores, and the site offers unlimited returns.

For the latest PowerRankings, Forrester surveyed 20,000 consumers from the NPD Group's online panel. These consumers identified the e-commerce sites that they purchased from most recently and rated their experiences. A team of Forrester shoppers then evaluated the shopping experience on sites that have a statistically valid number of consumer respondents by performing a series of rigorous tests. The consumer data and Forrester shopper scores were then synthesised and weighted, with consumer views accounting for two-thirds of the overall PowerRankings. A complete set of PowerRankings results - both consumer and Forrester shopper data - is made available to all ranked companies free of charge.

Additional information about each of the categories, including a complete set of rankings and scores, can be found at the PowerRankings website at

Forrester Research is an independent Internet research firm, analyzing technology change and its impact on business, consumers, and society. Established in 1983, Forrester is based in Cambridge, Mass. Forrester's European Research Centre is located in Amsterdam, Netherlands, its UK Research Centre is located in London, and its Research Centre Deutschland is located in Frankfurt. Additional information about Forrester Research can be found at