WHSmith named worst high street shop in poll

17 May 2013

WHSmith is the worst high street shop in the UK, according to an annual customer satisfaction survey carried out by consumer rights organisation Which?

The poll of 11,784 people, ranking 100 high street stores, put WHSmith in last place, with customers giving the retailer as customer satisfaction score of just 51%. WHSmith was also described by survey respondents as "messy" and "expensive".

But the Apple Store was voted the best high street shop, with consumers praising its "unique look and feel", "great atmosphere and products", and "great customer service".

Apple was followed in the top five by cosmetics retailer Lush, the Disney Store, electronics specialist Richer Sounds and fashion chain Bon Marche.

Perennial favourite John Lewis slipped out of the top five for the first time, Which? said, but still topped five out of eight individual categories.

Shoppers were asked by Which? about their satisfaction with a shop based on their last visit as well as their likelihood of recommending it to a friend (shops had to get at least 100 responses in the survey to be included).

The results of the Consumer Opinion Survey have been used to crunch the shortlist for the Moneywise Customer Service Awards 2013. The shortlist can be viewed here.

Consumers also told the organisation they are unhappy with the number of retail chains closing this year, with 88% saying they don't like to see high street stalwarts fail and 81% worrying about the decline of the high street. Shoppers said they still visit high street shops more often than shopping websites, shopping centres and retail parks.

"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," said Which? executive director Richard Lloyd.

"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."

Joining WHSmith in the bottom five high street shops are EE (formerly Orange and T-Mobile), TK Maxx, Milletts, and "independent department stores".

A WHSmith spokesperson said: "This survey is based on feedback from only 105 Which? participants who commented on WHSmith, less than 1% of those surveyed. This is unrepresentative of the 12 million customers who enter our stores each week, and conflicts with our ongoing independent customer satisfaction survey of over 1,000 customers each year, who consistently rate us highly on the things that matter to them.

"Customers vote with their feet, as evidenced by our continuing strong performance and the number of new stores that we are opening in the UK this year to support the UK High Street."

So what do you think about WHSmith? Share your views about any of the companies included in the Which! Survey in the comment box below.

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