‘Which?’ survey reveals best and worst high street shops

More than 11,000 shoppers have told ‘Which?’ about the high street stores they love and hate.

'Which?' survey reveals best and worst high street shops

In the consumer magazine’s annual high street shops survey, it’s good news for the technology giant Apple Store, but bad news for EE and WH Smith

The research, published in the June issue of the consumer magazine, is based on responses of 11,784 customers in February and March, who were asked about shops they’d used in the previous six months.

The respondents rated the shops on price, products, service and after sales/returns based on their last visit. The customer score is based on their overall rating for satisfaction and likelihood of recommending the shop to a friend.

The five highest-rated shops are Apple Store (85%), Lush (82%), Disney Store (80%), Richer Sounds (80%) and Bon Marché (79%). Shoppers praised the Apple Store’s ‘unique look and feel’, ‘great atmosphere and products’ and its ‘excellent’ and ‘knowledgeable’ staff.

The five lowest-rated shops are independent department stores (57%), Millets (57%), TK Maxx (56%), EE (formerly Orange and T-Mobile) (55%) and WH Smith (51%). The latter was described ‘messy’ and ‘expensive’.

John Lewis fell out of the top five for the first time, slipping down to joint seventh with Lakeland. But it retains its status as one of the favourite shops, by topping five out of eight individual categories – including best department store and best shop for furniture and homeware products.

Its customer score improved from 80% to 82% so it also scooped the ‘Which?’ Recommended Provider award, along with Argos. This award is given to a shop that attains at least four stars for customer service and at least three stars for price.

In the furniture and homeware category, Morrisons hasn’t changed position since last year either- it remains at the bottom of the table, with its customer score falling from 55% to 49%. Customers said they don’t like the lack of variety – one commented that the supermarket ‘could do with a better range of products’

The top 10 list of furniture and homeware retailers are: John Lewis, Dunelm Mill, Argos, Next, The Range, Sainsbury’s, 99p Stores, Poundland, Poundstretcher and Morrisons.

When questioned about the high street in general, 88% of respondents said they don’t like to see high street stalwarts fail while 81% said they are worried about the decline of the high street.

Although 52% of shoppers buy more online now than last year, high street shops continue to prove more popular than online shopping, Which? found, as consumers visit these more often than shopping sites, shopping centres and retail parks.

Commenting on the results, Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:”With many high street shops struggling to keep afloat during the recession, it’s great to see so many people saying that they are still getting good service.

“Consumers want to support their local stores, but not at any price, so whether they are chains or independent, we hope shops do the right thing to keep their customers and hold back the decline of the high street.”

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