WH Smith ‘worst’ retailer in UK, says Which? survey


WH Smith shopPicture copyright
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Prospects complained the WH Smith shops had been “cramped and messy”

WH Smith has been ranked the UK’s worst Excessive Road retailer for the second 12 months in a row, based on a Which? survey of seven,700 consumers.


The ballot, which lined 100 retailers, rated the chain “very poor” for worth for cash and in-store expertise.

Homebase/Bunnings and Sports activities Direct had been the following worst performers, whereas Richer Sounds and John Lewis had been on the high of the desk.

WH Smith stated simply 586 prospects had commented on its shops within the survey.

“This survey… is neither statistically related nor significant relative to our loyal buyer base,” a spokeswoman stated.

“Each week we serve three million prospects in our 600 UK Excessive Road shops and have maintained our presence on the excessive avenue the place many different retailers are closing shops.”

It’s the ninth 12 months in a row that WH Smith has been ranked within the backside two of the survey.

In line with Which?, the retailer achieved a satisfaction rating of simply 50% this time, after shoppers criticised its “cramped and messy” shops.

One buyer complained that employees had been “unhelpful”, whereas one other stated their native retailer was “untidy and too small for consolation”.

It isn’t the primary time the agency’s retailers have been criticised – a spoof twitter account that mocks the state of its carpets has attracted 24,000 followers.

Final week outgoing boss Steve Clarke admitted it was a difficulty, telling the BBC it was the “most painful facet of my job”.

He stated for some shops there was a trade-off between being worthwhile or redecorating.

Gross sales at WH Smith’s Excessive Road division have been falling amid difficult buying and selling circumstances.

Nonetheless, group income climbed final 12 months because the retailer’s largest enterprise – concessions at airports and rail stations around the globe – expanded by 8%.

Retail analyst Richard Hyman recommended shareholders within the firm had pushed it to concentrate on “quick time period returns” in its journey division.

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Prospects stated Homebase shops had been onerous to navigate

“WH Smith understands that in journey places the place you want a distinct kind of store, it may nonetheless symbolize an excellent retail choice

“However that’s a lot much less the case on the Excessive Road the place it has been bypassed by lots of its rivals.”

In line with the Which? survey, DIY chain Homebase/Bunnings was the following worst performer, with prospects saying its retailers had been onerous to navigate and that it was “tough to search out employees for steerage”.

Sports activities Direct additionally did badly, with one shopper describing the sportswear retailer as having “a really oppressive ambiance”.

Many of the highest-scoring retailers had been specialist retailers, with prospects commending them for his or her “professional recommendation and high-quality merchandise”, stated Which?

Prime-rated retailers, based on Which?

1. Richer Sounds

3. John Lewis

7. Apple

10. Screwfix

10 (Joint). Waterstones

Backside-rated retailers, based on Which?

101. Clinton Playing cards

104. New Look

107. Sports activities Direct

108. Homebase/Bunnings

109. WH Smith

The one common retailer on the high of the desk was John Lewis, with a buyer rating of 86%.

Which? stated the survey outcomes raised issues at a time when many retailers had been combating the Excessive Road slowdown.

Harry Rose, editor of Which? Journal, stated: “Giving consumers an awesome in-store expertise is extra vital than ever if manufacturers need to thrive on the Excessive Road.

“Our findings go to point out that if retailers can ship nice worth, high quality merchandise and first-class customer support, prospects will hold coming again.”

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