WH Smith finishes last as best and worst high street stores revealed

Embargoed to 0001 Wednesday May 29 File photo dated 23/1/2013 of a branch of WH Smith in London. WHSmith has once again been voted the UK's worst high street shop in an annual survey.
WHSmith was voted the worst retailer. Photo: Press Association

WH Smith has again been voted the worst retailer on the UK high street in a survey by the consumer group Which?.

Half of the famous brand’s customers said they were disappointed with their visits. That compared with an 89% approval rating for home entertainment firm Richer Sounds, which topped the league table.

Some customers called WH Smith “cramped and messy,” “crowded” and one even claimed the staff were “very unhelpful.”

It is not the first time WH Smith has finished last in the survey, and it has lurked near the bottom of the table for several years.

But a spokeswoman hit back strongly at the survey results, telling the BBC it was “neither statistically relevant nor meaningful relative to our loyal customer base.”

The poll surveyed more than 7,700 shoppers, but only 586 customers gave feedback on WH Smith.

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Homebase finished second bottom, with the DIY store rating poorly on several fronts.

Other major names towards the lower end of the table included JD Sports, Sports Direct and River Island.

Outdoor clothing company Rohan was the second most popular shop with an 87% approval rating, followed by John Lewis, Hotter Shoes, Lakeland and Toolstation.

Value for money, a good store environment and the knowledge and friendliness of staff helped the firms satisfy most of their customers.hop?

Harry Rose, editor of Which? magazine, said a first-class experience in store was more important ever in a challenging environment where bricks-and-mortar stores have lost ground to online rivals.

He said: “Our findings go to show that if retailers can deliver great-value, quality products and first-class customer service, customers will keep coming back.”

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Britain’s most popular shops

Here are the most-popular shops according to Which?, with the percentage of satisfied customers:

  1. Richer Sounds (89%)

  2. Rohan (87%)

  3. John Lewis (86%)

  4. Hotter Shoes (84%)

  5. Lakeland (84%)

  6. Toolstation (84%)

  7. Apple (83%)

  8. Bodycare (83%)

Britain’s least popular shops

Here are the eight least popular shops in the survey:

  1. WHSmith (50%)

  2. Homebase/Bunnings (53%)

  3. Sports Direct (54%)

  4. JD Sports (56%)

  5. River Island (56%)

  6. New Look (58%)

  7. House of Fraser (59%)

  8. Peacocks (59%)

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