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In other news.. John Lewis tops customer satisfaction rankings, HMV owner makes new acquisition and Tesco does away with multipacks to cut plastic

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Retailers top ratings for customer satisfaction – but levels are generally down

John Lewis, Next, Amazon, Debenhams, Ikea and Superdrug customers are among the most satisfied in the UK, according to new research. They all appear in the top 10 of the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index from the Institute for Customer Service.

But across all sectors, UK customers are less satisfied with the service they receive than they have been for four years, the report, published this week, suggests. The overall rating stands at 76.9 points – 0.8% lower than a year ago and the lowest since July 2015. But the news is better for retail as a whole than for other sectors.

John Lewis has the highest UK rating, at 85.6 points – 0.9 points lower than last year, when it scored 86.5. Next comes third with 85.1 points (-0.7 points from 85.8), and Amazon is in fifth place with 84.1 points (-1.3 points to 85.4). But satisfaction has risen at Debenhams (+1.5 points to 83.8), Ikea (+5.1 points to 83.8) and Superdrug (+4.8 points to 83.8). Amazon and John Lewis are also the two most consistent performers over the last decade. 

Aldi (+0% at 82.3) and Ocado (+0.1 to 82.1) led the way in food retail. But overall, satisfaction with food retailers has fallen by less than one point since January 2019, while non-food retailers are, as a group, more than one point below that level. The biggest fallers include transport (-3.3 points from July 2017) and utilities (-2.8 points from the same date). 

Customers were more satisfied with service when they used the sales channel that they preferred. The 80% of shoppers who bought through their favourite channel gave a customer service index of 78.5 out of 100, while the 5.2% who did not gave 61.5. 

HMV owner buys US business

The Canadian owner of UK multichannel entertainment chain HMV is buying a US business. For Your Entertainment trades online through and as well as through more than 200 shops in the US. It has more than 2,500 members of staff. 

Doug Putnam, who owns Sunrise Records in Canada as well as HMV, said the new acquisition would fit with his plans for both his existing businesses.

“There is a space for recognised retail brands that can cater to a new audience of entertainment-hungry consumers,” he said. “Getting the right mix of product across culture and entertainment – and bringing retail theatre to these outlets that make them a destination – has already proven a winning formula as we’ve turned around and grown Sunrise and HMV since we acquired them. We now intend to grow this chain in the USA and open more new stores starting this year. We are very excited about the opportunity to own such an amazing brand.”

The deal is expected to complete in the first quarter of this year subject to shareholder and other approvals. 

Tesco to stop selling multipacks in order to cut plastic 

Tesco says it will remove 350 tonnes of plastic from the environment when it stops selling plastic multipacks of tinned food. Instead of using plastic wrap to sell tins of foods such as baked beans, tuna and tomatoes together, it is instead introducing multibuy offers for the same prices – but without the plastic.

Currently Tesco sells 183,000 tinned multipacks a day and it says the move will remove 67m pieces of plastic from both its own brand and third-party branded tins. The move, already trialled in its Bar Hill Extra shop, fits with both the supermarket’s previous pledge to remove a billion pieces of plastic from its products by the end of this year and its 4R strategy to remove, reduce, reuse, recycle. 

Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis said: “We are removing all unnecessary and non-recyclable plastic from Tesco. As part of this work, removing plastic wrapped multipacks from every Tesco store in the UK will cut 350 tonnes of plastic from the environment every year and customers will still benefit from the same great value ‘multipack’ price. This is part of our plan to remove one billion pieces of plastic in 2020.”

Georgiana de Noronha, president of Kraft Heinz Northern Europe, said: “We’re excited to be partnering with Tesco on this. While we know we have more to do, this initiative is good news for the environment, and for the millions of people who enjoy Heinz varieties every day, as they’ll still be able to benefit from the same great value for money.”

Paula Chin, sustainable materials specialist at WWF, said: “WWF supports Tesco’s steps in the fight against plastic pollution. We need to remove unnecessary single-use plastic wherever possible, to stop the contamination of the natural world. If we want to protect nature we need more businesses to follow Tesco’s lead, before we run out of time to fight for our world.”

Tesco is a Leading retailer in IRUK Top500 research.

Image: InternetRetailing Media/Paul Skeldon

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