Wednesday 29 May 2019 10:26 am

WH Smith is the UK's worst high street store, say shoppers

WH Smith is the worst of all UK high street stores, according to a survey of British shoppers published today.

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The stationery provider got the worst rating of 100 retailers, with just 50 per cent of customers expressing satisfaction based on factors such as quality of service, in-store experience, and value for money.

Customers criticised the “cramped and messy” stores and said employees were unhelpful, according to consumer magazine Which's annual poll of 7,700 members.

Another said their “local store is untidy and too small for comfort”.

However, WH Smith dismissed the result as not "statistically relevant" compared to its "loyal customer base".

“Every week we serve 3m customers in our 600 UK high street stores and have maintained our presence on the high street where many other retailers are closing stores," a spokesperson said. "We work hard to improve customer experiences and continue to invest in new and existing stores.”

The retailer was ranked below Homebase/Bunnings, which scored poorly with a 53 per cent satisfaction rating, and Sports Direct on 54 per cent.

Shoppers at Homebase/Bunnings said the stores were too difficult to navigate, making it “hard to find anything in overcrowded shelves”, while one customer described Sports Direct as having an “oppressing atmosphere”.

The best UK retailers were instead Richer Sounds, at the top of the list with a customer rating of 89 per cent, accompanied by outdoor travel clothing retailer Rohan, which scored 87 per cent, and John Lewis on 86 per cent.

Harry Rose, editor of Which magazine, said: “Worries about the future of the high street aren’t going away anytime soon, but it’s clear that there is still demand from shoppers for the experience and services offered by physical stores that can’t always be replicated online.

“Giving shoppers a great in-store experience is more important than ever if brands want to thrive on the high street. Our findings go to show that if retailers can deliver great value, quality products and first-class customer service, customers will keep coming back.”

These are the UK's best high street shops, according to Which customers:

Top rated stores' names Customer satisfaction rating
Richer Sounds 89 per cent
Rohan 87 per cent
John Lewis 86 per cent
Hotter Shoes 84 per cent
Lakeland 84 per cent
Toolstation 84 per cent
Apple 83 per cent
Bodycare 83 per cent
Crew 83 per cent
Screwfix 82 per cent
Seasalt 82 per cent
Waterstones 82 per cent

These are the UK's worst high street shops, according to Which customers:

UK's worst high street shops Customer satisfaction rating
Clinton Cards 61 per cent
Peacocks 59 per cent
House of Fraser 59 per cent
New Look 58 per cent
River Island 56 per cent
JD Sports 56 per cent
Sports Direct 54 per cent
Homebase/Bunnings 53 per cent
WH Smith 50 per cent

City A.M. has approached Homebase/Bunnings and Sports Direct for comment.

Read more: High street stalwart Boots mulls more than 200 possible store closures