Waitrose tops the shopsCustomers pick favourite stores

31 January 2006

Waitrose is Britain's favourite store, according to a new Which? survey being aired on the BBC show Watchdog tonight.

We asked more than 2,000 shoppers to rate 42 high-street chains for overall satisfaction, as well as range of factors such as price, customer service and convenience.

The top three were Waitrose, its sister John Lewis and Marks & Spencer (M&S;). Least liked were Co-op, Kwik Save and the electrical store Powerhouse.

Products are 'excellent'

Customers love Waitrose. Almost four out of five Waitrose shoppers rated its products as excellent or very good, and it also got high marks for customer service. But only a third of customers gave it good marks for price. Considering its overall satisfaction rating, this suggests that shoppers are happy to pay for good products and customer service.

Among the food stores, M&S; ran Waitrose a close second for overall consumer satisfaction, scoring highly for its products, customer service and shoppers' experience in the store, although it was near the bottom of the league when it came to price.

Poor marks for Co-op

Overall there was not much to split the 'big four' of Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco, although Sainsbury's fared poorly on price.

Kwik Save and Co-op bring up the rear, with only a third of Co-op customers rating its products as excellent or very good. Even fewer were enamoured with its prices.

Britons spend around GBP 175 million a day on groceries, and we found that satisfaction with the sector as a whole is higher than for the clothing and electrical sectors.

Co-op responded that it was disappointed. The findings conflicted with its own research, and it would study the report carefully. Kwik Save has not yet responded with a comment. Powerhouse said that it would carry out a full investigation and would ensure significant improvements. It was already reviewing 'under-performing' stores.