Top of the shops – 2010 Which? high street survey reveals the best and worst, with Lakeland coming in joint first place with audio-visual chain Richer Sounds.
Meanwhile Curry’s, JJB Sports, PC World, Focus, Curry’s Digital and WH Smith were rated the UK’s worst stores.
Thirty different home and garden chains were among the stores rated in the survey, with specialist kitchen and homewares chain Lakeland taking the crown, both in the category and overall. Lakeland was praised by shoppers for its innovative products and exceptional aftersales service. Staff were described as helpful, knowledgeable and courteous.
Ikea came seventh, well ahead of Marks & Spencer which ranked 13th, with Homebase and B&Q coming even further down the list at 89th and 62nd respectively.
The home and garden stores which scored worst were Focus and Morrisons, both receiving a two-star rating for service. Morrisons came in at joint 89th place, along with Homebase and three other retailers, with Focus making the bottom five in joint 97th place with PC World.
Electrical retailers generally fared badly, with PC World joined by Currys and Currys Digital in the bottom ten. Criticisms of these three stores, all owned by retail giant DSG International, included very poor customer care and product knowledge at Currys Digital and “overpriced” goods at PC World. Comet did only slightly batter, at 83rd place, while Argos came in at 38th.
John Lewis ranked fifth and was rated the best shop in six out of eight categories, including toys and games and electrical stores, where it came joint first with Richer Sounds.
The survey was conducted between February and March 2010, with 14,151 members of the public voting online to create a league table of 100 high street stores.
Questions included how satisfied they were and how likely they were to recommend the store. Voters also rated 15 factors, covering price, service, store experience and product quality.
The survey found that people are 70% more likely to recommend a shop that was excellent at handling a complaint than one where they’d never had a problem, with almost half of those who had complained saying their negative shopping experienced turned into a positive one because of how their complaint was resolved.
Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said: “We know people appreciate good customer service so retailers need to realise that ‘Who cares, wins’. Some stores are clearly giving their customers what they want, so why settle for lousy service? We urge shoppers to vote with their feet and stamp it out.”