There is a reason why John Lewis is one of the most respected and liked shops in Britain. And it’s not a complicated one- John Lewis sells good products, in a pleasant environment, served by knowledgeable and amicable staff. Add to that its sensible ratio of quality to price for all its products, and you quickly see why John Lewis retains its rightful crown as the retail world's safe pair of hands. This large store offers a broad sweep of electricals, homeware, fashion (with some exclusives like Pistol Panties lingerie) gifts, furniture and leather goods, each coming with the reassurance of JL’s nonpareil ‘never knowingly undersold’ guarantee and lenient returns policy. Arguably the strongest selling point is the lower ground-floor cookware and white goods section, where an excellent range of kitchen staples is backed up by exemplary customer service. Well-informed staff will guide you to the right product for your purse, delivery is usually smooth and the after-care service, should you need it, admirable. John Lewis offers one of the most civilised places on Oxford Street to shop- with a commodious food hall stocked with culinary partner Waitrose’s goods (complete with walk in cheese room), and family friendly services like home delivery, baby changing facilities, and a big café. Although the much-touted redesign of the ground-floor beauty hall a couple of years ago didn't quite transform the store into the emporium of style the directors were hoping for, niche lines such as This Works and Bliss, alongside stalwarts like Benefit, MAC and Clarins, have upped the beauty ante. There's also an Elemis spa pod for express facials. Under the auspices of the Director of Buying, Peter Ruis, fashion at John Lewis is fast becoming more directional, with hipper labels like Day Birger et Mikkelsen and BCBG Max Azria being added. The clutch of respectable classics is also still strong with Coast, Jaeger and Fenn Wright Manson among them. Other strengths include technology, schoolwear and a brilliant haberdashery for those knitters struggling to find decent wool.
John Lewis is number 13 in our list of the 100 best shops in London.
Branches Wood Street, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 1TE (8547 3000); Brent Cross Shopping Centre, NW4 3FL (8202 6535); (Peter Jones) Sloane Square, SW1W 8EL (7730 3434)