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A national study released by Market Force Information found that DSW, which operates some 375 stores in 41 states, is America’s favorite shoe retailer. Following closely behind are Nordstrom, NIKE, Shoe Carnival and Famous Footwear.

The study, conducted earlier this year in an effort to uncover which shoe retailer consumers liked most and why, first calculated the favorites based on the total number of votes, then factored in the number of locations for each. DSW garnered the most total votes and remained the leader when the votes were indexed by location.

DSW executives say they strive to create a distinctive shopping experience that satisfies both rational and emotional shopping needs by implementing new technologies, growing its loyalty program and maintaining fresh inventory -- to the tune of 24,000 pairs of shoes.

While DSW may be winning shoppers’ affection, another Market Force Information survey suggests the shoe retailer -- and others who are at the top of their game today -- will need to keep working hard to stay the course. A separate study indicates that 39 percent of some 4,000 respondents have tried a new fashion retailer in the past three months -- a 22 percent gain from 2011 and a 179 percent increase from 2010, when just 14 percent of consumers had a roaming eye.

H&M is the retailer consumers reported visiting for the first time most often, followed by Kohl’s, Macy’s, Abercrombie & Fitch and Forever 21. The survey revealed that 46 percent of consumers were most likely to try a new retailer when shopping for casual clothing. Meanwhile sales/promotions were the No. 1 impetus for those who tried a new retailer, edging out recommendations from friends and family.