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WHSmith rated UK's worst high street shop by Which?

Customers complained of out-of-date WHSmith shops, expensive products and rude staff Photo: PA

WHSmith has been rated the worst high street retailer in the UK this year, a survey has claimed.

Shoppers criticised customer service, value for money and the standard of its stores, according to the Which? annual study.

The retailer has been in the bottom two of its poll for an eighth consecutive year, the consumer association said.

Which? gathered comments from 10,356 shoppers about their experience at 100 major retailers.

The customer scores given were based on experiences of purchasing items other than groceries, their level of satisfaction and the likelihood of recommending each shop.

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In the survey carried out in January, customers complained of out-of-date WHSmith shops, expensive products and rude staff.

John Lewis fell to 10th place – its worst ranking since the annual survey launched in 2010 – but it still came out top when rated for its appliances and electronics, furniture and home, outdoor and sports and well-being and beauty.

Lush, Savers and Smyths Toys were named the highest ranking shops. None made last year’s top 10. Customers praised the smells of Lush stores, the prices at discount cosmetics store Savers, and the staff at Smyths Toys, Which? said.

The survey also asked shoppers what they liked about shopping in-store and found customers value being able to touch, feel and try on items before purchasing (82%) and being able to ask staff questions (39%).

But customers said they were put off by crowds (49%), queueing (49%) and the behaviour of other shoppers (38%).

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.”