John Lewis, IKEA lead UK retail rankings

04 March 2011

LONDON: John Lewis, IKEA and Waitrose are UK consumers' favourite retailers, a new study has shown.

Verdict Research surveyed 6,000 adults in the country to gain an insight into which chains provided the best overall experience.

John Lewis, a network of department stores, led the rankings for the fourth year running, demonstrating its continuing appeal despite the challenges posed by the downturn.

According to Neil Saunders Verdict's consulting director, customers praised the atmosphere the company has created, alongside recognising its strengths in a number of other areas.

"John Lewis's formula for success is tantalisingly simple: great service, broad and compelling ranges, superior quality, and honest and fair pricing. But it's a model that's extremely difficult to emulate," he said.

"The result is that John Lewis makes consumers feel good about shopping; it delivers value over and above just the physical purchase."

Furniture specialist IKEA took second, credited in particular for selling a wide variety of goods at competitive prices.

"IKEA offers good quality, stylish modern products at market-beating prices," said Saunders. "That's something consumers have welcomed during these more constrained times."

Waitrose, part of the same group as John Lewis, claimed third, and was the only supermarket featuring in the top ten, benefitting from excellent store layouts and impressive customer service.

"Due to the frequency with which people shop for food, grocery retailers are up against close consumer scrutiny and as a result most find it difficult to score well," Saunders said.

"Waitrose is the exception to that: it provides an enjoyable and aspirational shopping experience with plenty of foodie treats."

Superdrug, the high-street chemists, occupied fourth, and ecommerce pioneer Amazon rounded out the top five.

Turning specifically to clothing, Marks & Spencer was pre-eminent, ahead of John Lewis and H&M.

Elsewhere, Marks & Spencer followed Morrisons and Waitrose when it came to food, while Wickes, B&Q and Wilkinson proved popular for DIY.

John Lewis assumed a leading position regarding homewares, beating IKEA and Dunelm, and also boasted a preferred status concerning electricals, where Asda and Amazon trailed in its wake.

"This year's winners tend to be retailers that focus heavily on price or retailers that add a lot of value to their offers," said Saunders.

"They reflect the fact that consumers are increasingly looking for value for money during these constrained times."

Data sourced from Verdict Research; additional content by Warc staff