Placed Insights, a Seattle-based ratings service for consumer behavior, has released its findings for consumer traffic patterns in the first quarter 2013 and the results may come as somewhat of a surprise.

In spite of the intense competition from digital book sellers, bricks-and-mortar bookstores were among the top gaining categories in shopper traffic in the first three months of the year, behind financial planning shops and bars. Bookstores as a group experienced a 27 percent increase in shopper visits during the period and moved up six spots in Placed Insights’ ranking, to number 46.

Barnes & Noble in particular moved up eight spots on the list of the most visited stores in the U.S., to number 17.

Also experiencing increases in shopper visits were furniture stores and bridal shops, which registered 20.5 percent and 24.1 percent increases in traffic respectively.

Among specific retailers, Target moved up one place on the list of the most visited stores, to number four; Kohl’s moved up five places, to number 10; Best Buy moved up two places to number 14 and Old Navy moved up one place, to number 18, coming in behind Barnes & Noble. PetSmart, Bed Bath & Beyond and Macy’s also moved up.

On the other hand, Sam’s Club, GameStop, Lowe’s, Sears, Kmart, Marshalls and Payless Shoe Source registered declines in traffic in the first quarter. Family Dollar experienced one of the sharpest declines, moving down 12 spots to number 41, followed by Payless Shoe Source, which fell six spots and Kmart, which moved down five spots, to number 23.

Who’s shopping?

Placed Insights also took a look at consumers’ preferences for department stores. The firm found that adult female consumers (aged 35 through 44) were most likely to shop at Kohl’s and J.C. Penney. People with higher incomes ($75,000 to $100-plus a year) also preferred Kohl’s over other department store chains.

When it came to cross-shopping preferences, the same consumers who visited Kohl’s were also likely to shop at T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods, Ulta, Dick’s Sporting Goods and PetSmart.

Men preferred shopping at Sears, as did people earning less than $25,000 a year.

Macy’s ranked highest among people aged 19 through 34. Macy’s shoppers also liked to visit Apple Stores, Forever 21, H&M and Victoria’s Secret.

The results of the study were based on daily data received from 70 million retail locations across the country.