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Trust in retailers hits four-year low

Trust in UK retailers has hit a four-year low due to issues such as the horsemeat scandal, Bangladeshi factory collapse and corporate tax avoidance according to the results of a new survey.


Trust in retailers hits four-year low

The OC&C Strategy Consultants’ Retail Proposition Index, which was compiled following a survey of 10,000 shoppers across the UK, shows that trust in the retail sector has fallen by 1 point to 70.8 over the last 12 months to reach its lowest point since the index began four years ago.

While John Lewis retained its crown as Britain’s most trusted retailer closely followed by Marks & Spencer and Waterstones, Tesco now finds itself among the five least trusted retail brands for the first time.

Overall, furniture and entertainment retailers saw the sharpest fall in the perception of trust since last year. Furniture retailers’ trust ratings fell by 3.1 from 67.8 in 2012 to 64.7 in 2013, while entertainment retailers saw trust scores plummet by 3.4 from 73.6 last year to 70.2 in 2013.

Discount retailers, such as Aldi and Lidl, were the only sector within the retail industry to see average trust scores increase.

Tom Gladstone, partner at OC&C, said: “Trust plays a critical role for consumers’ overall perception of a retail brand so it’s worrying that trust in retailers has hit a four-year low. The report shows that a focus on CSR or ethical trading alone is not enough to convince UK consumers that a brand is trustworthy – rather, delivery on promise and quality remain prerequisites to winning consumer trust. Retailers such as John Lewis, M&S and Waterstones have worked relentlessly over the years to build their position and have been rewarded by consumers as a result.”

As part of the survey consumers were also asked to rate brands on a range of other measures including quality and diversity of products, shopping experience and price. The report shows that Amazon’s popularity with consumers held steady with the retailer topping the index for the fourth year running followed by John Lewis, Apple and Marks & Spencer.

Gladstone continued: “Although the tax avoidance scandal negatively affected UK consumers’ trust in Amazon, their execution and reliability around products and delivery helped them maintain their overall title. The US retailer continues to excel in areas which consumers value highly, such as excellent customer service, a wide choice and great value for money.”

OC&C Retail Proposition Index: top-10 overall UK retailers
1. Amazon
2. John Lewis
3. Apple
4. Marks & Spencer
5. M&S Simply Food
6. eBay
7. Lakeland
9. Waterstones
10. Healthspan

OC&C Retail Proposition Index: top-5 most trusted retailers
1. John Lewis
2. Marks & Spencer
3. Waterstones
4. M&S Simply Food
5. Lakeland

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