LUDLOW’S shops provide some of the best service to be found anywhere in Britain’s market towns according to a respected survey.

Professional mystery shoppers and town centre assessors, who visited Ludlow in December, have given the town a positive report on the overall shopping experience.

The team, from market research specialists ESA, carried out the Location Model project, designed by Skillsmart Retail, to see how well Ludlow fared alongside town centres across the UK in a number of different areas.

A mystery shopping test evaluated the performance of 50 independent retailers, placing Ludlow 10th out of almost 80 towns which have so far been assessed.

Forty-two of the 50 shops recorded individual scores above 80 per cent and 26 had their customer service rated as good or very good. This performance meant that in 93 per cent of cases, mystery shoppers would return to the shop and 91 per cent would recommend it to a friend.

The best performing shop was Bentley’s Wine Merchants, in Castle Street, which scored an almost perfect 97.8 per cent.

This was followed by Capitol Carpets on Bull Ring (97.5 per cent) and Bensons of Ludlow on The Buttercross (96.2).

The research team also interviewed 100 shoppers to ask their opinion of Ludlow.

Eight out of ten (82 per cent) felt the town was clean and tidy although just 32 per cent found public facilities easy to find. The variety of independent shops scored very highly (93 per cent) as did the general feeling of safety in the town (91 per cent). Half also said they had seen definite improvements to Ludlow over the past two years.

The final part was a town centre assessment, which found that car parking was free from congestion and that it was easy to find somewhere good to eat.

“There is no doubt that we will be celebrating these fantastic results for some time to come, but it is important we look closely at the full Location Model report to look at the areas we can improve on to make Ludlow’s overall experience better for everyone who lives here, as well as for our visitors,” said Martin Taylor-Smith, Mayor of Ludlow.

“There are a number of areas we could improve instantly; everything from displaying store opening hours to offering a verbal greeting is important. The council will also look closely at the report and plan how we can continue to help the town, its traders and its shoppers in the months and years to come.”