WH Smith voted worst retailer on UK high streets
In the Which? study, shoppers criticised the retailer's customer service, value for money and the standard of its stores.
WH Smith has been in the bottom two of the Which? poll for an eighth consecutive year, the consumer association said.
Which? gathered comments from 10,356 shoppers about their experiences at 100 major retailers. The customer scores given were based on their experiences of purchasing items other than groceries, their level of satisfaction and the likelihood of recommending each shop.
In the survey carried out in January, customers complained of out-of-date WH Smith shops, expensive products and rude staff.
Meanwhile, Lush, Savers and Smyths Toys were named as the highest ranking shops in 2018 after none of them made last year's top ten. Customers praised the smells of Lush stores, the prices at discount cosmetics store Savers, and the staff at Smyths Toys, Which? said.
Customers were found to favour retailers that offer a sensory experience or specific expertise that is not available to them online. Getting top marks in this year’s entertainment category was Waterstones due to its stores’ pleasant surroundings and the helpful recommendations given by friendly staff.
The Which? survey also asked shoppers what they liked about shopping in-store and found that customers value being able to touch, feel and try on items before purchasing, to take purchased items away, and to ask staff questions.
Meanwhile, describing their bugbears of shopping in store, shoppers said they are put off by crowds, queueing, and the behaviour of other shoppers.
Ben Clissitt, Which? magazine editor, said: “It is clear that our traditional high street is changing and while this is bad news for some retailers who have struggled to adapt, others have seized the opportunity to make their mark.
“Our findings show that if retailers can strike the right balance between good value, quality products and first-class customer service, shoppers will keep coming back to their stores.”
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