2006-01-23

List & Stats: UK's Top Ten Shops

'John Lewis' named the nation's favourite shop in a survey that saw it take the top spot from 'Ikea', whose popularity appears to be finally waning. While upmarket 'John Lewis'was found to have 'no equal' when it came to customer service, the Swedish furniture giant fell from first to fifth place and was beaten by other names which trade on being cheap and cheerful, such as 'Matalan' and 'TK Maxx'. The annual poll of 6_000 shoppers by the analyst 'Verdict' covers all kinds of retail outlets, from DIY stores to shoe shops, and measures satisfaction in a range of categories. This includes price and product quality, on which 'Ikea' scores well, but also the comfort of the shopping experience, where the furniture chain failed this year. It was not helped by a near-riot in north London when it opened a new branch after heavily advertising huge discounts on offer. The 'Verdict' report said:
'"Ikea's" reputation has been damaged by adverse publicity, particularly criticism of the customer shopping experience and the stampede that broke out at its Edmonton store.'
'John Lewis', which prides itself on matching the prices of its rivals and uses the slogan 'never knowingly undersold', positions itself as more upmarket than its competitors. It was top of the satisfaction index and the 'Verdict' report said:
'It has no equal in terms of customer service and scores highly on all other criteria.'
Its closest rival was its own sister company, the supermarket chain 'Waitrose' -- the only grocer to make the top ten and up from 20th position last year. The report found 'Waitrose' had become more popular as the chain expanded and attracted new and soon-to-be loyal customers. Despite the disruption caused by a major fire in its warehouse ,'Matalan' moved up from tenth to fourth, beaten into third place by fellow cut-price chain 'TK Maxx'. The 'Verdict' report stated that 'TK Maxx' had a 'loyal, mainly female customer base who shop there regularly' because of prices which average out at 60 per cent lower than for the same labels elsewhere. 'Matalan' had moved up the table as its customers have to be members and tend to be more dedicated. Also, the standards of service and product had improved over the past year, the report said. The rest of the top ten showed just how much variety there now was in Britain's booming retail market: it included the DIY superstore 'B&Q', the specialist shoe shop 'Shuh'and the on-line retail giant 'Amazon'. The survey, which is in its sixth year, measured categories for the 67 most popular shops used by the consumers surveyed. Customers were asked to rate their most-used stores in terms of range, price, convenience, quality, service, ambience, facilities and layout. The top ten -- with last year's positions in brackets -- was:
  1. (2) 'John Lewis';
  2. (20) 'Waitrose';
  3. (4) 'TK Maxx';
  4. (10) 'Matalan';
  5. (1) 'Ikea';
  6. (14) 'Amazon';
  7. (39) 'Savers';
  8. (31) 'Schuh';
  9. (23) 'Wilkinson';
  10. (7) 'B&Q'.
'John Lewis builds is British shoppers' favourite store'', Rhiannon Edward, The Scotsman, 2006-01-23, Mo

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