John Lewis king of the high street

High-street stores are having to battle harder than ever for shopper’s business – particularly with consumers tightening the purse strings under threat of rising household costs and growing debts. And with online competition growing at record levels, it seems the best way for shops to win the fight is to keep customers happy. In their annual customer services survey Which? looked at 50 of the best-known retailers rating them out of 100. Some of Britain’s biggest high-street names, such as Currys, Woolworths and MFI, are rated poorly, while stores such as Aldi and Lidl are on the rise – thanks in large part to their discount pricing policy. However, two particular shops stand head and shoulders above the rest.

John Lewis and Waitrose, sister companies in the John Lewis Partnership, take the gold and silver in the Which? survey. Both were ten points or more ahead of their nearest rivals. John Lewis isn’t perfect, but very close to it,’ was how one reader saw this year’s winner. Third place goes to Marks & Spencer. The chain store performed well for its customer service and products, with over half of its customers rating its products very good or excellent. John Lewis also came in the top three for shopping experience (which includes tidiness, ease of finding products and general environment), customer service and product (including range and quality). One customer described the store as ‘like an old blanket; comfy and reliable’.

The worst shopping experience was attributed to TK Maxx, who came last place. Unsurprisingly, the discount stores all do remarkably well in terms of price. While customer service and shopping experience all rate below many other top performing retailers in our survey, the very appearance of these discounters in the upper regions means that many are willing to accept the no-frills approach – if the price is right. At the bottom of the satisfaction table is sporting goods store JJB Sports. Indeed, the sportswear giant gains low scores in all key areas, including one of the lowest customer service ratings – just 9 per cent judged it to be excellent or very good.

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