The Which? top 100 shops league table reveals those that the nation loves and those that fall short of giving a special shopping experience. But do your own experiences tally up with our survey?
This year, Which? asked more than 11,000 shoppers about the big chains they have shopped in over the past six months to hammer out our top 100 league table.
We’ve covered everything from clothes stores (a personal interest of mine) through to DIY outlets, as well as the best places to shop if you have little ones (or they’re on the way). We’ve even wheedled out the nation’s favourite department store, though I’m not sure that one will come as a shock.
But what we haven’t done this year is rate entertainment shops. With 4,200 books, news and stationary shops closing since 1998, and a rise in online sales of books and music, there just aren’t that many to judge.
What are the top shops?
So who got those coveted top places? Drum roll please for… Richer Sounds, Lush and Lakeland. Hang on, that’s a pretty diverse bunch – an audio visual specialist, a quirky cosmetics store and a kitchen gadget emporium.
But when you see the mass of five-star ratings and read the glowing comments the top three get for their knowledgeable and helpful staff, you know they’re hitting the mark for customers.
These chains go the extra mile and clearly know what the customer wants. Having shopped at Richer Sounds and Lush regularly myself, I’m not surprised at their ranking as first and second place respectively.
Completing the top five are the Disney Store and firm Which? member favourite John Lewis – also crowned the best department store. These guys are also recognised for offering a great experience, and only narrowly missed a spot in the top three for overall satisfaction.
Despite the criticism we’ve given John Lewis in the past for changes to its Never Knowingly Undersold policy, comments such as ‘dependable’ show that you trust it as the overall one-stop shop.
At the bottom of the shops table
Bottom of the Which? top 100 sits WH Smith, Focus and PC World.
With Focus recently in administration, other DIY chains have an opportunity to really step up – as it’s the local independents in this category that shoppers love.
WH Smith received negative comments for high prices, despite some shoppers praising its customer service and PC World was frequently slated for bad customer service. So while a good bargain is clearly a factor when you’re going shopping, the treatment you get in the store is what people really remember.
What do you think of the results? Do you have other first choice shopping destinations?