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FLAT ON THEIR PACKS; Shop knocked off top spot.

Byline: By Steven Ventura

IKEA have been toppled from their position as Britain's favourite shop.

The store chain have dropped to fifth in a league table of retailers.

Rivals John Lewis have taken over the top spot in a consumer satisfaction poll.

Lewis's sister company, supermarket Waitrose, took second place.

Cut-price chain TK Maxx were third.

Despite the disruption caused by a major fire in their warehouse, Matalan moved up to fourth, from 10th last year.

For the survey, analysts Verdict asked 6000 consumers to rate their most-used stores in terms of range, price, convenience, quality, service, ambience, facilities and layout.

A spokesman for Verdict said: "John Lewis have no equal in terms of customer service and score highly on all other criteria." Of Ikea, he said: "Their reputation has been damaged by adverse publicity, particularly criticism of the customer shopping experience."

The report added that Ikea had also been hit by a near-riot in North London when they opened a new branch in Edmonton last February with big discounts.

TK Maxx were described as having a "loyal, mainly female customer base who shop there regularly".

This was put down to prices which were, on average, 60 per cent lower than for the same labels elsewhere.

Matalan were said to have improved service and stocked better products in the past year.

CAPTION(S):

DOWN TO FIFTH: IKEA
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 23, 2006
Words:227
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