A consumer survey of the best places to buy outdoor and sporting equipment has seen Rohan come out on top.
The specialist clothing retailer notched a positive score of 87% after being praised for its guarantees, helpfulness of staff, and quality of clothing.
The 49-year-old company – founded in Skipton, North Yorkshire – was awarded five stars out of five in all three measures.
More than a third of shoppers praising the Milton Keynes-based outfit in the survey said they regularly purchased their technical clothing from Rohan, with one shopper saying: “We always shop here. Great atmosphere and service. High quality technical clothing made to look like every day clothing.”
The retailer scored so highly, that it even qualified as a Which? Recommended Provider, not only for performing well in the survey, but also for meeting strict criteria around returns and faulty goods policies.
Rohan’s managing director, Ian Palmer, welcomed the announcement and said he was particularly proud of his staff for maintaining high standards throughout the difficulties of 2020.
‘We at Rohan are really proud’
“We at Rohan are really proud to have been rated again as the best Outdoor Sports and Equipment Retailer for 2021 in the recent Which? survey,” he said.
“We work hard to ensure everyone is well looked after while buying, and supported in the rare occasions something should go wrong, and being scored 87% by those customers is recognition of the contribution made by every member of our customer-facing and back office teams in delivering what Which? praises as, helpfulness, product quality, and after sales support.
“To be recognised as the best Outdoor Sports and Equipment Retailer in the difficult marketplace of 2020 makes the award even more exciting to win, and in our view reassures customers that even in the toughest of times Rohan remains a safe, supportive and constant companion for every journey.”
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Another outdoors favourite – Cotswold Outdoors – also ranked highly, taking third spot behind second-placed women’s workout wear retailer Sweaty Betty (82%) with an impressive score of 79%.
Again, customer service played a big part in the scoring system – a point not overlooked by Which? Money and Shopping editor Ele Clark.
“Sports and outdoor equipment doesn’t always come cheap, so shoppers need to be able to trust that the retailer they choose will offer both great customer service and competitive value for money,” she explained.
“As we emerge from lockdown, anyone looking to buy new kit should consider how a store treats its customers, not only at the point of purchase but also if something goes wrong further down the line.”
Meanwhile, at the bottom of the pile, Sports Direct was hit with a barrage of criticism. The retailer, owned by Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, was criticised for its after sales service, product guarantees and Covid-19 response.
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Sports Direct only received two stars for its Covid-19 response, where shoppers were asked to rate stores and websites on how well they communicated pandemic-related changes such as queuing systems, social distancing, and delivery delays.
It was at the foot of the 29-strong list with a woeful dissatisfaction score of 65%, as shoppers gave it a mere two stars for after sales service and its guarantees.
In response, a spokesman for Sports Direct said the company was “investing significant sums into improving the customer journey”, adding “we value our customers’ opinions”.
Budget retailer Decathlon fared well with four stars for value for money and range, while both Blacks and Mountain Warehouse were mid-table with three stars for product quality and after sales service.
Visit the full Which? report here… Which? Best and Worst Outdoors and Sports Shops