John Lewis top of the shops: what it means for the high street


John Lewis

An annual survey has named John Lewis as the best retailer in the UK - for the tenth time in 15 years. The Verdict customer satisfaction research also named the best supermarket, clothes shop, and music and video retailer.

So what do the results reveal about the future of the high street?

John Lewis is no stranger to the top spot in Verdict's annual survey of the best shops in the country. Even in the five years when it didn't come first on the list, it took second place for four years and third place in 2012.

Verdict Lead Analyst, Sarah Peters, says: "John Lewis retained its title this year coming top overall as well as in its main product categories of homewares and electricals. As Britain's favourite retailer, John Lewis continues to deliver the product ranges, inspiration and trust that customers appreciate."

Its position at the top of this list - and the other results - reveal six things about the future of the high street.

1. It's not dead yet

The fact that a high street retailer is still in the top spot goes to show that there's still some life in the high street. What John Lewis has achieved is a nationwide brand with just 41 stores - revealing how successful it's possible to be with a combination of real stores and a strong internet shopping proposition.

2. But the future may be out of town

The top three in this survey also included Dunelm and IKEA - both out-of-town propositions. They have proven that a store can attract loyalty even when it's ostensibly a large, faceless warehouse. The fact that these stores are so much cheaper to run - and easier for drivers to visit - seems to indicate that in future we could see high streets transformed into housing, and shopping taking place in shopping malls and industrial estates on the outskirts.

3. We have fallen for the internet

John Lewis may be 'bricks and mortar' store, but it didn't take the top spot through its stores alone. The competition also named it best online retailer - showing just how important its internet offering is. In addition, Amazon took the title for music and video, and was the runner up for footwear, homewares and electricals. So the march of the internet retailer continues.

4. Price is important

One of the major attractions of John Lewis has always been its pricing, and the fact that it will never allow itself to be 'knowingly undersold'. A number of discount stores also got mentions on the list, from Aldi and Lidl (ranked second and third in the supermarket category) to Savers named as the best for personal care.

5. Price isn't everything

John Lewis will never price match deals found on the internet - and still it is regularly chosen over its cheaper counterparts for the customer service ethos and for the quality of the products. The research also named Waitrose as the country's favourite supermarket. The store offers a brand match and a range of essentials products - but its unique selling point has always been its top-of-the-range produce and the quality it offers.

6. Being loved isn't everything

If you're going to run a successful and profitable store, then it helps if your customers like you. However, this alone isn't going to protect our high street favourites - we actually have to buy things there too. Just look at HMV and Fopp. They are officially the third most loved music retailer in the country - but that hasn't exactly protected them from the ravages of the recession.

Top 5
1. John Lewis
2. Dunelm
3. Ikea
4. Brantano
5. Matalan

Best for clothing
1. H&M
2. Matalan
3. JD Sports

Best for DIY
1. Screwfix
2. B&Q
3. Wickes

Best for footwear
1. Matalan
2. Amazon
3. Brantano

Best for food and groceries
1. Waitrose
2. Aldi
3. Lidl

Best for music and video
1. Amazon
2. Asda
3. HMV/Fopp

Best for personal care
1. Savers
2. Morrisons
3. Wilkinson

Best for homewares
1. John Lewis
2. Amazon
3. Dunelm Mill

Best for electricals
1. John Lewis
2. Amazon
3. Asda