5 things you’re better off buying in a traditional store.

Consumer Reports

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Vacant storefronts in American malls have reached a 10-year high. Losing out to online shopping sites as well as stand-alone retailers, stores in many malls are just as likely to feature a For Rent sign as a Sale Today sign. While online sales continue to grow, there are some products you're still better off buying in a brick-and-mortar store. Here are five products from Sears, Best Buy, Lowe's and Home Depot that have done well in our tests.

  1. Exterior paint from Lowe’s: Valspar Duramax Flat exterior paint has a built-in primer, which is a huge money-saver. Among the top performers in our exterior paint tests, this paint is still looking very good after the equivalent of 9 years in our demanding outdoor tests. It costs about $33 per gallon.
  2. Refrigerator from Best Buy: In our refrigerator tests, the Frigidaire Gallery FGHT1834K top-freezer was very good for temperature control, keeping temperatures even through the refrigerator and freezer compartments. It also did well in our energy-efficiency tests and is on sale now for $520.
  3. Grill from Sears: The Kenmore 16649, $800, a large-size grill, got top marks in our low temperature performance test and indirect cooking. Medium-sized and small Kenmore grills also did well in our tests and cost hundreds less.
  4. Interior paint from Home Depot: Behr Premium Plus Ultra interior paint, the Home Depot house brand, continues to top our tough tests for interior paints. And like the Valspar, has a built-in primer, saving you time and money. The price ranges from $30 to $34 per gallon, depending on the sheen.
  5. Lawn mower from Sears: Self-propelled gasoline-powered mowers are the kind most Americans buy. The Craftsman 37108, about $400, was among our top performers, with impressive mulching, bagging, and side-discharge for a relatively low-price.

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