Latest research suggests that UK consumers are more disloyal to their chosen retailer than ever before due to the country's current economic woes, with the clothing sector worst hit.

According to a new report from Verdict Consulting, customers across every retail sector say they would prefer to shop at an alternative store to the one they currently use most.

Verdict said the findings demonstrate the challenge retailers now face in holding onto shoppers in the midst of the credit crunch hitting the UK.
 
Loyalty to retailers in 2008 has declined at its sharpest rate for the past ten years, Verdict found.

Over 22% of shoppers - some 10.8m people - now say they are dissatisfied with the store where they do most of their shopping.

For clothing, 25.2% of shoppers are dissatisfied with the stores they currently use, up 3%, while footwear retailers face a 19.4% disloyalty rate - up 3.4% from last year.
 
"In the current environment it's critical for retailers to hang on to every customer they've got; no one can afford to lose business" said Neil Saunders, consulting director at Verdict.

"Such a low rate of loyalty demonstrates the extent to which people are shopping around and are increasingly willing to punish retailers that don't meet their expectations.

"It should act as a wake-up call that retailers need to become better at meeting the needs of their customers".

Researchers added that while the credit crunch has undoubtedly made consumers shop around for bargains, the increase in retail choice has also driven the long-term decline.

It also said that the proliferation of new, often international, retailers and internet retailers made it "easier than ever before for shoppers to switch their custom".