John Lewis tops consumer poll

Consumers have voted John Lewis their favourite UK retailer, according to a new report from analyst Verdict Retail. The department store chain knocked sister company Waitrose into second place in the Consumer Satisfaction Index 2008.

The survey found that John Lewis is “more highly regarded than any of its competitors” across criteria such as convenience, quality, ambience, facilities and layout. Verdict consulting director Neil Saunders says the retailer “excels at service”.

He adds: “The idea of good service at John Lewis isn’t simply a fad dreamt up by management for short-term gain, it’s an integral part of the business, supported by an ownership structure which reduces staff turnover and gives partners, at all levels, a real incentive to perform well.”

Waitrose, also part of the John Lewis Partnership, topped the survey last year, but has slipped to second place. The supermarket chain scored well in ambience and layout. James Flowers, the joint author of the report, says it is difficult for supermarkets to win consumers over as many people dislike food shopping.

Homewares retailer Dunelm, Amazon and Ikea also scored well in the annual survey.

Flowers adds that as the retail environment becomes increasingly difficult, customers will demand higher levels of satisfaction. He says: “If a retailer gets it wrong, it is very easy for a shopper to go elsewhere. It’s no longer sufficient to pay lip service to keeping the customer satisfied.”

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