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2 December 2021

Best and worst shops

The best and worst shops in the UK, as voted for by thousands of shoppers – find out where to buy clothes, tech, furniture and more.
HW
Hannah Walsh
Ellie Simmonds

Find out the best places to buy beauty, clothes, furniture, DIY products and more, based on surveys of thousands of shoppers and expert Which? analysis.

We've surveyed thousands of Which? members and members of the public about their experiences of shopping with some of the country's best-known stores and websites, as well as with lesser-known brands. 

In this guide, we reveal the best shops to go to for clothes, beauty products, DIY supplies, furniture, tech, home appliances and more.

Note: branded links take you to the retailers' websites.

Best baby and child shops

Buying a pushchair, cot or child car seat can be a minefield, so it's important to use a retailer who will give you trustworthy advice as well as value for money.

The store that came top of our table impressed with its easy-to-use website, great aftersales service, prices and product range, scoring five stars out of five on all these measures.

At the bottom of our table, meanwhile, the worst performer got just two stars for the majority of the elements we asked shoppers about, including staff's helpfulness and delivery options.

  • Find out how Smyths Toys, Mamas & Papas, JoJo Maman Bebe and more scored: log in or join Which? to see the results.
Amazon (387)
Argos (384)
Baby and Child Store (165)
Baby Monitors Direct (68)
Baby Planet (83)
Baby Security (71)
Bella Baby (79)

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the shop and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Survey of 4,625 people (4,518 members of the UK public and 107 Which? Connect members) in May 2021. 

Best beauty, health and wellbeing shops

The best shops for buying beauty and wellbeing products impressed customers with the quality and range of products on offer.

The service provided by store staff, which can be vital when you're experimenting with new beauty products, wowed our respondents in some stores - while in others it was sorely lacking.

  • Find out how Boots, Superdrug, The Body Shop and more scored: log in or join Which? to see the results.

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the shop and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Based on a survey of 10,909 members of the Which? Connect panel and members of the public in November 2020.

Best clothes and accessory shops

Shoppers love the five-star customer service and wide range of quality clothes and accessories at the top-rated clothes shop in our survey. 

Unfortunately the worst-rated clothes shops left customers less than impressed, scoring two stars on multiple measures including product quality.

  • Find out how John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Next and more scored: log in or join Which? to see the results.
Accessorize/Monsoon (311)
Amazon (1,241)
Asda (839)
Asos (431)
Beales (71)
Bonmarché (158)
Boohoo (430)

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the shop and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Sample size in brackets. Survey of 16,297 Which? members in May 2021.

Best DIY and decorating shops

We asked customers to rate stores' product quality, value for money, item range and availability based on their most recent DIY shopping experience. The two shops that landed in joint-first place achieved five stars across the board.

At the other end of the scale, however, the worst performer scored just two stars for most of the factors we asked shoppers to tell us about, including Covid-19 measures and aftersales service and returns. 

  • Find out how B&Q, Homebase, Screwfix and more scored: log in or join Which? to see the results.
Amazon (846)
Argos (443)
B&M Home Store (513)
B&Q (1,272)
Brewers (120)
Home Bargains (439)
Homebase (567)

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the shop and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Survey of 6,212 UK adults (4,602 members of the UK public and 1,610 members of the Which? panel) in May 2021.

Best entertainment shops

Our entertainment category - which covers shops selling books, games and music - saw a big gap between the best and worst-performing stores.

Product product quality and range were among the reasons customers rated the top three shops for entertainment so highly. The retailer at the top of the table achieved five stars for staff helpfulness and knowledge. This compared to only two stars for the shop at the bottom of the table.

  • Find out how HMV, Waterstones, WHSmith and more scored: log in or join Which? to see the results.

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the shop and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Based on a survey of 10,909 members of the Which? Connect panel and members of the public in November 2020.

Best furniture and homeware shops

When shopping for furniture and homeware, you want to know that you're getting decent product quality without spending the earth.

Customers told us that the store at the top of our table delivers on quality and customer service, while those in the bottom five scored two stars or less for product range and availability.    

  • Find out how DFS, Dunelm, Ikea and more scored: log in or join Which? to see the results.

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the shop and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Survey of 12,419 adults - members of the Which? Connect panel and members of the public - in August 2020. 

Best household appliance shops

We asked customers to tell us about their experience of the installation, removal and recycling services offered by household appliance stores and websites, as well as the aftersales service and returns. 

The top shop in our table was awarded an impressive customer score of 86%, achieving five-star ratings for all but two of the elements of the shopping experience we asked customers about. But other stores failed to impress, with the worst performer scoring just 58%.

  • Find out how Amazon, AO.com, Euronics and more scored: log in or join Which? to see the results.
Amazon (1,053)
AO (639)
ApplianceCity.co.uk (72)
AppliancesDirect.co.uk (124)
Argos (876)
Asda (352)
B&M (296)

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the retailer and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Survey of 8,491 adults - members of the Which? Connect panel and members of the public - in September 2021.

Best outdoor and sports equipment shops

The two highest-scoring stores received five stars for product quality and staff helpfulness and knowledge, both of key importance when buying technical equipment or clothing.

The retailers towards the bottom of the table didn't manage more than three stars for product quality and generally shoppers were less impressed with their product ranges too.

  • Find out how Cotswold Outdoor, Halfords, Sports Direct and more scored: log in or join Which? to see the results.

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the shop and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Based on a survey of 10,909 members of the Which? Connect panel and members of the public in November 2020.

Best shoe and boot shops

We all know how important quality is when choosing a pair of shoes. No matter how comfy they are or how stylish they look, you can't have your footwear falling apart soon after you buy it. 

That's why we asked customers to rate the quality of the shoes and boots at shoe shops. The store with the lowest customer score was rated just two stars for quality, while those at the top of the table got a full five stars on this measure.   

  • Find out how Clarks, Schuh, Skechers and more scored: log in or join Which? to see the results.
Adidas (416)
Amazon (634)
Asda/George (405)
Asos (268)
Beales (59)
Boundary Mills (70)
Charles Clinkard (68)

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the shop and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Survey of 7,654 Which? members in May 2021.

Best stationery, cards, crafts and gift shops

The top store by customer score in this category impressed customers with five-star product quality, customer service and in-store experience.  

  • Find out how Clinton Cards, Hobbycraft, Paperchase and more scored: log in or join Which? to see the results.

Table notes: WRP means Which? Recommended Provider. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction with the shop and how likely people are to recommend it. Sample size in brackets. Where no star rating is given, sample size was too small. Survey of 3,594 Which? members in January 2020.

Best tech shops

The top shop for tech products got an impressive customer score of 92% in our survey. Shoppers were impressed on every front, giving it a clean sweep of five-star ratings. 

But which major tech retailers failed to impress, both in store and online?

  • Find out how Apple, Currys, Richer Sounds and more scored: log in or join Which? to see the results.
Richer Sounds (WRP, 116)
John Lewis (WRP, 571)