The forthcoming issue of Health Which?, the health magazine from the Consumers Association, advises customers to buy sports goods from independent dealers rather than multiples or department stores

Advice from Health Which?: buy from independents

OK, the report is all about running shoes but the message is still relevant for the bike trade: independent retailers are best because they know what theyre talking about.

Health Which? researchers visited 33 sports stores and only two of them scored high marks. They were both smaller independent running shoe stores. 17 of the stores were rated badly by experts: all were branches of major chain stores.

The independent running shoe stores had staff who gave good advice after asking relevant questions.

In the three Nike stores mystery shopped the assistants asked virtually no questions, and gave only limited advice.

Health Which? says: By and large the advice given by assistants in sports shops and department stores was inadequate. They asked too few relevant questions and failed to act properly on the information given.

The clear message is that you cannot rely on staff in most sports stores to give good advice.

The multiples visted were Allsports, JD Sports, JJB Sports and Intersports as well as three Nike stores, ten department stores and ten independent sports stores.

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