Poll: WHSmith rated worst shop on the high street by customers for 9th year in a row in annual shopping survey

WHSmith has been ranked as the worst high street retailer in the UK in an annual survey of more than 7,700 shoppers.

Wednesday, 29th May 2019, 3:50 pm
WHSmith has been ranked the worst high street shop in the UK for a ninth year in a row (Photo: Shutterstock)

It is the ninth year in a row the shop has finished bottom of the rankings, achieving a satisfaction score of only 50 per cent, almost half of the runaway winner, Richer Sounds.

The poll, run by consumer watchdog Which?, covered more than 100 retailers and looked at which shops offered the best in-store experiences.

WHSmith ‘cramped and messy’

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The retailer, which has shops in airports, train stations and high streets across the country, was criticised by respondents for its poor value for money, poor service, and in-store experience.

Shoppers slammed the “cramped and messy” stores, with others complaining about the stores being “crowded, dirty and the staff unhelpful”.

According to the BBC, sales at WHSmith’s high street division have been falling due to challenging trading conditions, but group revenue climbed last year as their airport and rail station sector grew by eight per cent.

Homebase, Sports Direct and River Island also ranked poorly

WHSmith has been ranked the worst high street shop in the UK for a ninth year in a row (Photo: Shutterstock)

Which?’s survey also found that the DIY and gardening shop, Homebase, the sports equipment retailer owned by Mike Ashley, Sports Direct, and River Island were disliked by shoppers.

Homebase, which also trades under the banner of parent company Bunnings, was dubbed difficult to navigate.

Shoppers said it was “hard to find anything in overcrowded shelves” and “difficult to find staff for guidance”, while Sports Direct was described as having a “very oppressive atmosphere”.

Homebase.co.uk and SportsDirect.com were also at the bottom of Which?’s most recent online shops survey with satisfaction ratings of 55 and 61 per cent respectively, with WHSmith.co.uk only faring slightly better with 63 per cent.

Richer Sounds and John Lewis top the table

Specialist audio-visual technology retailer Richer Sounds topped the customer satisfaction table with a score of 89 per cent and was praised for stellar customer service with shoppers praising touches such as having purchases carried to their cars or the shop paying for customer parking.

Rohan, an outdoor clothes specialist, and John Lewis, the only general retailer in the top five, were ranked second and third.

John Lewis was praised for the experience of buying products across several categories including electronics, furniture and home, and entertainment. The department store was called a “reliable store with products I can trust” and was praised for “nicely laid out stores with helpful staff and good parking”.

Do you agree with the ranking? Take part in our poll and have your say.

Top five shops

Richer Sounds - 89 per cent satisfaction

Rohan - 87 per cent

John Lewis - 86 per cent

Hotter Shoes - 84 per cent

Lakeland - 84 per cent

Bottom five shops

WH Smith - 50 per cent satisfaction

Homebase/Bunnings - 53 per cent

Sports Direct - 54 per cent

River Island - 56 per cent

JD Sports - 56 per cent