Trust in UK retailers has hit a four-year low following the horse meat scandal and the Bangladesh factory disaster.

Trust in retailers fell by 1 point over the past 12 months to 70.8, according to OC&C’s Retail Proposition Index, which surveys more than 10,000 shoppers.

Horse meat has impacted consumers’ trust in Tesco. Once among the most trusted retailers, Tesco is now among the five least trusted retail brands for the first time since the index began four years ago.

Overall, furniture and entertainment retailers have witnessed the sharpest fall in trust since last year. Furniture retailers’ trust ratings fell by 3.1 to 64.7 in 2013, while entertainment retailers’ trust scores dropped from 73.6 last year to 70.2 in 2013.

John Lewis has retained its crown as the UK’s most trusted retailer, with more than 96% of consumers trusting the brand, followed by Marks & Spencer and Waterstones.

However, taking in other brand measures including quality and diversity of product, shopping experience and price Amazon retained its position as the UK’s favourite retailer, followed by John Lewis, Apple and Marks & Spencer.

OC&C partner Michael Jary told an audience at the World Retail Congress in Paris today that innovations such as Asda’s use of webcams in its factories in Bangladesh and Waitrose publishing extensive supplier information online may help rebuild trust in the retail sector.

OC&C partner Tom Gladstone said: “Although the tax avoidance scandal negatively affected UK consumers’ trust in Amazon, their execution and reliability around products and delivery helped them maintain their overall title. The US retailer continues to excel in areas which consumers value highly, such as excellent customer service, a wide choice and great value for money.”

The discounters were the only sector within retail to see average trust scores increase, rising 1.3 points over the year.  OC&C put this down to range improvement and greater marketing around the quality of their products.

Top 10 overall UK retailers

  1. Amazon
  2. John Lewis
  3. Apple
  4. Marks & Spencer
  5. M&S Simply Food
  6. eBay
  7. Lakeland
  8. Ikea
  9. Waterstones
  10. Healthspan

Top 5 most trusted retailers

  1. John Lewis
  2. Marks & Spencer
  3. Waterstones
  4. M&S Simply Food
  5. Lakeland

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