The Era of Infinite Competition

Retailers face a fast-expanding, multi-pattern competitive set. A company may see it’s losing market share, but may not see where it’s going. Consumer spending is scattered thanks to new ways of making purchases. Manufacturers are becoming retailers. New rivals, often in the form of companies too small to hit the radar, continue to enter and fragment the market. In such a climate, every customer interaction becomes crucial.

LET's NOT FORGET
THE STORE:

WHY BRICK AND MORTAR STILL MATTERS IN A MULTICHANNEL WORLD

Humans are social creatures hungry for experience. As much as we love to research products via QR codes, engage with friends and retailers via our Facebook pages, and collect music in our cloud libraries, it is all too easy to forget that there’s still a special place in our lives for the retail store. Stores are where we learn what’s new, find inspiration, and see other purchase choices we may not have found online.

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EVERY BRAND
IS A STORY

More retail brands need to abandon traditional one-dimensional merchant roles in favor of multi-dimensional identities and richer textures. Retail is extremely operationally focused, which makes it a tough environment for brand thinking and management. But when a company gets it right, the brand becomes a value creation tool.

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THE 2012 RANKINGS

01
Walmart
139,190$m
▼-2%

With 180 million shoppers annually, $260 billion in U.S. sales, and a legitimate claim to 1.7 percent of the U.S. GDP, Walmart remains number one on the Most Valuable U.S. Retail Brands list by a huge margin. Walmart's brand value decreased slightly over the previous year and has not returned to its 2010 height, as shoppers spread their spending to other stores. In response, the company is bringing its massive strength in innovation, low price guarantees and supply chain mastery to bear. Stores continue to evolve and departments have improved for an easier, more enjoyable shopping experience. Effective marketing efforts and relevant online strategies, along with aggressive fairness, philanthropic and sustainability initiatives, demonstrate the company's tireless dedication to betterment.

02
Target
23,444$m
▲1%

Target holds its place as the preferred discount mass merchant of a loyal, satisfied base of affluent shoppers under age 45, while fine-tuning its owned brands and partnering with high fashion designers. In 2011, the company picked up the pace of its remodeling, adding grocery to hundreds more general merchandise stores to drive frequency. Select cities are welcoming smaller CityTarget stores. In Canada, Target acquired over 220 retail locations, with conversion to begin in 2013; 70 percent of Canadians recognize the Target brand and 10 percent have shopped it. After Target migrated its e-commerce site off its Amazon.com-hosted platform, the site suffered several general outages, most notably in September during a traffic spike prompted by its limited-edition Missoni apparel line.

03
Home Depot
22,020$m
▲8%

The Home Depot commands the largest piece of the highly fragmented home improvement pie. The brand continues to expand as the market dictates, and with its deep pockets has invested heavily in in-store technology so associates can better service shoppers and manage inventory. The Home Depot serves two audiences, delivering a how-to experience to consumers, and speed and efficiency to contractors. With e-commerce/in-store integration, the brand is at parity with most brick and mortar retailers. Its print and digital media feel more refined than the store — a common issue in the DIY category. The Home Depot's track record of responding well to market challenges will be tested in some Midwest markets with the entrance of another aggressive competitor, Menards.

04
CVS
17,343$m
▲5%

CVS operates in three general areas: retail pharmacy, pharmacy benefit management (PBM) and retail clinic service. Its MinuteClinic division, with approximately 600 clinics in 26 states, stands to assert CVS' leadership position with hundreds of planned new locations to meet rising need. Thanks to the high utility of its mobile application, CVS estimates up to 2 percent of patient interactions are now through mobile devices. Its urban retail format focuses on consumables to better position CVS against the competition and the impending market saturation of retail pharmacies. Lucrative new PBM contracts stand to boost CVS' 2012 sales by an estimated $4.8 billion. However, at times inconsistent but reactive prioritization of business activities based on divisional performance clouds the brand's long-term goals.

05
Best Buy
16,755$m
▼-11%

Although Best Buy dropped in overall brand value this year due to the soft consumer electronics market, it remains top-of-mind by 65 percent over competitors and claims more than 20 percent of the market share. Amid weak sales and growing online competition, the big-box giant is shrinking its 45,000 s.f. stores to 36,000 s.f. through retail sublets. Online, Best Buy plans to double its business over the next three to five years. The company's buyout of its U.K. partner, Carphone Warehouse, through the U.S. joint-venture Best Buy Mobile stores secures one of the fastest growing components of the brand's business fueled by the demand for smartphones. Prolific in retail innovations, Best Buy could gain ground again as consumers perceive digital tablets as a necessary purchase.

06
Walgreens
15,018$m
▲4%

Walgreens' focus on the customer is clearly apparent. The retailer slowed its expansion to a rate below 3 percent to allow for focus on creating a cohesive and relevant brand experience. Walgreens has made great strides in improving the consistency of its brand experience, offline and online. The Customer Centric Retailing program, implemented in over 6,000 of its more than 7,800 stores, has optimized its merchandising system and refreshed in-store communication hierarchy, boosting front-end productivity. Attributes of the recently acquired Duane Reade chain and its private label brands are being slowly introduced into the Walgreens network. In March, the company acquired Drugstore.com expanding its e-commerce reach by 3 million customers representing sales of over US $456 million.

07
Coach
23,444$m
▲16%

A consistently renowned American heritage brand of accessible and aspirational luxury with high positive social media scores, Coach has 500 stores in the U.S and Canada and enjoys an ever-growing presence globally, most recently entering Brazil and Vietnam. The company is experiencing tremendous growth in China due to the explosion of middle income families who aspire to higher-end brands. To protect its brand, Coach initiated a major crackdown on counterfeiters and trademark infringers. It also created a new brand, Reed Krakoff, to deliver a slightly different design aesthetic at a higher price point. All things related to the brand filter through Coach's executive creative officer to keep brand focus sharp. The result is continued double-digit growth.

08
Sam's Club
12,854$m
▲4%

Sam's top priority is attracting new warehouse club members through improved experiences. It's currently testing a "club of the future" redesign, investing in better customer understanding and sharing scanner data so suppliers can improve the offers they provide. Responding to increased demand for health and wellness, the brand is adding pharmacies, free monthly health screenings, and hearing centers. The company has stepped up its technology with a more robust e-commerce site, in-store kiosks and a sophisticated smartphone application. Sam's Club Plus Members can now access their personalized eValuesSM through any channel. While the increased interactions with members has helped differentiate it from the competition, there is significant opportunity for Sam's to differentiate further.

09
Amazon.com
12,758$m
▲32%

Amazon.com continues its upward path with strong growth and emphasis on its B2C and B2B fulfillment services. With its Kindle e-book reader, Amazon has changed the way books are consumed. Kindle Fire represents a major new product launch and the first serious competition for Apple's iPad. Amazon has been testing a new design experience that makes it easier to navigate on a tablet rather than desktop or laptop. The brand continues to add services to its Prime membership program such as instant video streaming and the option to borrow New York Times bestsellers. The company enjoys strong brand recognition with customer-centricity at the core of its brand strength.

10
eBay
9,805$m
▲16%

With over 97 million users globally, eBay is the world's largest online marketplace, where practically anyone can buy and sell practically anything. About 60 percent of sales are now fixed-price products versus the traditional auction model pioneered by eBay. This transition has enhanced the company's growth rate. With its $4.4 billion-in-revenue PayPal private online secure payment system, eBay is positioning itself as the payments operating system of the web. Its acquisition of GSI Commerce will help eBay expand its network to include larger retailers. Additionally, the company acquired Magento, an open-source e-commerce platform, to provide a full set of capabilities for merchants that wish to build complete shopping experiences.

11
Nordstrom
9,497$m
▲10%

Nordstrom continues to evolve and refine its legendary service by opening in-store wedding boutiques, expanding its complimentary personal stylist program, bringing digital technology to the sales floor, and offering free shipping and returns. Last year, Nordstrom acquired HauteLook.com, a members-only site with limited-time sale events, and opened Treasure & Bond, a philanthropic store and business incubator in Manhattan. The brand operates 225 U.S. stores in 29 states. Its slow but continual retail expansion allows complete replication of Nordstrom's unique service components. However, continued growth in consumers' ability to purchase discounted high-end merchandise — from retailers that include Nordstrom's Rack and HauteLook.com — poses some risk to Nordstrom's traditional format.

12
Publix
9,123$m
▲11%

Family friendly Publix is an employee-owned supermarket looking to build relationships and provide knowledge to its customers. This year, sales are up and employee and customer satisfaction remain high. As proof of its brand promise, Publix continues to receive awards for being a top business to work for. Its loyal shoppers share recipes, coupons and stories on its extremely active Facebook page. Publix strives to create an emotional, caring connection through programs such as free medications, menu and event planning, and cooking classes. Its award-winning private label strategy is the brand's "secret weapon." By differentiating its products according to its consumers' preferences, it has competitive private label products that cannot be copied by national chains.

13
Lowe's
8,638$m
▲3%

Lowe's remains a strong player in the home improvement category, stepping up its efforts to attract shoppers online and in-store by slashing prices permanently. It enjoyed a slight sales increase this year despite the weak economy and housing market, delivering against high customer expectations by providing a consistent, open, easy-to-shop atmosphere for do-it-yourselfers. Lowe's recently revamped its management and regional structure from five divisions to three, and consolidated its merchandising operations. The company will close 20 of its U.S. locations to improve profitability. Stiff competition continues to come from The Home Depot and now the entrance of Menards in some Midwest markets. Lowe's will need to bring its brand to bear rather than rely on price to drive choice.

14
Dollar General
6,451$m
▲8%

Dollar General is something of a category captain for extreme value. It maintains a stronger media presence than its peers. It operates almost 9,800 “small box” stores, far more than its rivals and more than any other retailer in America. In 2011, it launched an e-commerce website complemented by social media and mobile alerts. It also opened over 60 of its Dollar General Market formats for fresh foods. Gearing up to compete with small grocery stores like Fast and Easy and Walmart Express in urban food deserts, the company plans to open 40 more Market stores in 2012. Dollar General continues its commitment to brand by rolling out new neighborhood stores in its updated format while keeping frills to a minimum. As economic uncertainty continues, the retailer’s outlook remains strong.

15
Dollar General
6,429$m
▲16%

At its core, warehouse club Costco is a company of exceptional merchants and operators, dedicated to the efficient sourcing, shipping, displaying and selling of quality goods. The brand prides itself on its fun-to-shop treasure hunt atmosphere. Private label Kirkland Signature continues to be very well received by the company's 60 million members whose renewal rate is over 87 percent. Internally, Costco fosters an entrepreneurial culture that helps the brand continuously evolve and improve. The company spent US $1.3 billion constructing new warehouses and renovating older ones to provide a better customer experience. Plans are in place for global expansion and an increased emphasis on its Kirkland Signature label. Interestingly, the company doesn't have a mobile app except for a third-party locator app.

16
Kohl's
5,948$m
▲6%

Originally, Kohl's filled the gap between traditional department stores and discounters. With 1,127 stores in 49 states, 40 of which opened in 2011, Kohl's is where the entire family shops for on-trend items. The company continues to expand, remodel and explore different channels to connect with customers. Its no-hassle return policy responds to real-life challenges. As it moves more into fast fashion, value-focused communications incorporate a bigger trend message. Additionally, the brand's ongoing green initiatives, such as piloting electric vehicle charging stations in 33 of its stores, demonstrate good corporate citizenship. However, Kohl's traditional middle ground is getting blurry as discounters like Walmart upgrade and department stores like Macy's rely heavily on promotion.

17
Staples
5,936$m
▼-7%

Staples has an unwavering focus on serving the needs of its small to medium business clients. While it's the world's largest office products company, competition from non-office supply specialty retailers continues to grow, but Staples' strong product assortment, customer service, loyalty program, breadth of services and its consistent "easy" message still resonate with consumers. A refreshed store design features more open floor space with a large section of products to try. Its revamped mobile site is helping it compete against online competition. 2011 saw continued development in the sustainability and environmental programs so important to its business customers. Staples' reach is international, extending to Canada, Europe and now Australia.

17
Staples
5,936$m
▼-7%

Staples has an unwavering focus on serving the needs of its small to medium business clients. While it's the world's largest office products company, competition from non-office supply specialty retailers continues to grow, but Staples' strong product assortment, customer service, loyalty program, breadth of services and its consistent "easy" message still resonate with consumers. A refreshed store design features more open floor space with a large section of products to try. Its revamped mobile site is helping it compete against online competition. 2011 saw continued development in the sustainability and environmental programs so important to its business customers. Staples' reach is international, extending to Canada, Europe and now Australia.

18
Victoria's Secret
5,497$m
▲11%

Victoria’s Secret increased its media spend over the previous year by 27 percent and kept its advertising fresh with variety. The brand is also a champion at earning media with its televised fashion shows and million dollar gem-embellished lingerie. As a result, sales and same store sales increased by double digits for the leader in intimate apparel. Domestic business continues apace with operating margins at a record level. Its popular entry-level brand, Pink, now has co-branded merchandise with all 32 NFL teams. Because Victoria’s Secret brand recognition is so high in countries without brick and mortar stores, its international potential looks huge. The brand plans to open 130 locations outside of North America, including the Middle East and Moscow.

19
Avon
5,376$m
▼-6%

Avon, with its unique direct sales model, enjoys a rich legacy. The foundation of the beauty brand revolves around empowering women to earn money. Brand development efforts focus as much on recruiting representatives as appealing to consumers, and Avon invests significant time and money in the success of its representatives. Over 6.5 million Avon reps serve more than 300 million customers in over 100 countries, which means that brand consistency is a challenge. International growth with a focus on Brazil and Russia is a priority. But speed of growth has strained legacy systems, requiring aggressive investment in infrastructure and technology. Two major acquisitions (Liz Earle and Silpada) are part of Avon's strategy to reach new customers with higher price points.

20
Tiffany & Co.
4,498$m
▲9%

Tiffany & Co. continues to flourish where many luxury goods have struggled. Store expansion continued in 2011 with the restraint and discipline befitting a luxury brand. The brand has been able to successfully offset rising commodity costs through increased merchandise pricing. Active in both product development and promotions, Tiffany's successful multimedia campaign "What Makes Love True?" was recognized as a best-in-class example of a luxury retailer using digital. The company's increasing focus on environmental and social leadership is a growing component of the brand; it is clear about its diamond supply chain partners and practices. The appeal of the iconic blue box is universal, as demonstrated by Tiffany's continued international growth.

21
AutoZone
4,300$m
▼9%

A dominant player in the retail auto parts business with over 4,800 stores, AutoZone can boast a strong base of very loyal customers — do-it-yourselfers and light commercial automotive service groups — who take advantage of the retailer's numerous services, such as free diagnostics, tool loans, advice and guidance. Its store experience is consistent and familiar across locations, yet there is little to differentiate it from its peers other than private label products. AutoZone recently ventured into online and social media channels; however, the brand has much to learn when it comes to using these touchpoints effectively. Lately, the company has faltered a bit in customer experience, and announced initiatives to improve customer service and refine inventory deployment.

22
Gap
4,040$m
▲2%

Gap, the world's megabrand for denim, surprised the industry with a massive shake-up of its management ranks and agency relationships this year. The company hired its first Global CMO to get the brand on course and move it forward towards greater relevance. Its New York design hub now combines design, production and marketing under one roof to better tackle its challenges, including lack of product differentiation. The brand has a solid online presence and is testing promotions through Foursquare, Groupon and Facebook. Aggressive global expansion more than makes up for continued weak domestic sales. Now in 29 countries, including Asia and plans for Africa, Gap announced it will shutter approximately 20 percent of U.S. stores.

23
GameStop
3,541$m
▼-13%

GameStop is the world's largest video game and entertainment software retailer with over 6,500 brick and mortar stores in 17 countries, as well as online channels GameStop.com and EBgames.com. The company also operates Game Informer magazine with over 4 million paid subscribers. It finished its fiscal year with a 5 percent increase in sales; however, hardware, software and same-store sales have slipped. Because the retailer's once differentiating pre-owned business has been copied by competitors, GameStop's competitive advantage is shifting to a loyalty program, developer-exclusive content, and convenience delivered by the size of its network. GameStop plans to introduce its own version of an Android tablet, and will include trade-in and pre-owned programs for tablets in general.

24
Bed Bath & Beyond
3,303$m
▲5%

Capitalizing on consumers’ desire to shop for home goods in a specialty environment, Bed Bath & Beyond continues to perform well and consistently. Its numbers have increased almost steadily since 2004, with 39 new stores in 2011 and comparable store sales up by close to 8 percent. Bed Bath & Beyond’s perpetual 20 percent off direct mail coupon serves as its primary driver. Online, the brand has a very functional website that provides useful shopping information and allows for local store inventory checking. The brand is also highly responsive on its popular Facebook page. Even with the absence of innovation in the store, Bed Bath & Beyond beats the home goods departments in other stores on sheer assortment, a steadfast and healthy brand.

25
Old Navy
2,605$m
▲2%

Mall staple Old Navy refreshed its stores, brought out more of its quirky, fun spirit through its advertising and ventured into interactive musical brand experiences — all to step up its game in the face of increasing competition from the likes of Target. Old Navy pulled out the stops, creating humorous ads targeted to men, inviting families to party in its stores, and introducing everyone to the Snap Appy app that turns any Old Navy logo into deals, games and fashion tips. On top of that, the retailer has written original songs about its apparel. Shoppers can "Shazam" any song from Old Navy Records and immediately unlock exclusive deals. As its YouTube videos demonstrate, the "funnovation" and "research and deal-velopment" never stop in the creation of a strong call to action.

26
Sherwin-Williams
2,598$m
▲9%

Sherwin-Williams, a global powerhouse in paint and coatings, had another good year. It boasts high brand recognition and even higher loyalty among its professional and non-professional customers alike. The brand is dedicated to evolving with its customers, seeking new ways to make the brand engaging and responsive. That includes expanding on its popular color-matching and color-inspired digital tools. Participation in its preferred customer program increased 30 percent in 2011. Sherwin-Williams' dedication to leadership in paint and coatings led to three important acquisitions last year: Europe's Becker Acroma and Sayerlack, industrial wood finish manufacturers, and Ecuador's Pinturas Condor, a coatings supplier. The brand increased its fleet of 3,450 by 60 with plans to add up to 60 more in 2012.

27
Michaels
2,115$m
▲3%

Michaels is well known to highly involved crafters, who follow the brand closely. Its new branding program is consistent across all touchpoints — social media, website and marketing collateral — except Michaels' brick and mortar channel, where its differentiated store concept has not been consistently rolled out. Nevertheless, Michaels continuously strives to be the leader in its category, keeping relevant to its core audience, and carrying name brand merchandise such as Martha Stewart, American Girl and Paula Deen. As yet, the brand does not offer a true e-commerce site, lagging online competitors such as Amazon.com and JoAnn.com, so the brand has an opportunity for a more integrated experience in the future.

28
Ross Dress For Less
1,800$m
▼-4%

Ross Dress for Less is the second largest off-price department store chain in the U.S. with over 1,000 stores in the South and West. A no-frills, single channel retailer, its slogan is simple: Focusing on Bargains, Delivering Results. The company's traditional buyers and merchants concentrate on negotiating the lowest deals possible and transferring them to customers. While there is positive sentiment about the brand in social media, it lacks overall presence in the digital space. Beyond everyday savings of 20-60 percent off designer and famous names, the brand claims few if any emotive intangibles. Ross Dress for Less has begun expansion into the Midwest, beginning in Chicago.

29
Guess
1,748$m
NEW

Founded in 1981 as a jeans brand, Guess has maintained much of the same visual equity and style since then. Well-recognized as a sexy, body conscious retailer of apparel and lifestyle, Guess enjoyed an exciting year. Revenues increased by 9 percent and same-store sales by almost 3 percent. The company directly operates more than 700 retail stores around the world. Its newest and largest flagship opened on Fifth Avenue in New York. Geographic dispersion keeps the Guess brand more protected than most, while its strategic use of retail, wholesale, e-commerce and licensing distribution frees it from depending on the performance of any single channel, and allows the brand to adapt quickly to changes in the distribution environment in any particular region.

30
Banana Republic
1,628$m
▲7%

In 2011, Banana Republic opened its first store in Moscow and its first on the Champs-Elysées. The retailer of "elevated design and luxurious fabrications" also debuted its new store format, Revolution, featuring a wide, central boulevard lined by "shops" that address various customer wardrobe needs — weekdays at the office, ballet on Friday, cocktails Saturday night and Sunday brunch — culminating at an accessories "plaza." It teamed up again with the Emmy Award-winning costume designer of "Mad Men" for a successful co-branded clothing line based on the TV show's characters. Banana Republic has been expanding into international markets, with 642 stores in 32 countries, shipping to 20 countries through its websites and more than 50 countries through a third party.

31
J. Crew
1,605$m
▲3%

Despite major shake-ups in 2011, J. Crew stayed true to its upscale trend-right classics in creative store environments. Private equity groups TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners acquired the previously public company for $3 billion, prompting a dispute with shareholders. President and Executive Creative Director, Jenna Lyons, who is well-known to brand followers from her "Jenna's Picks" online and catalog features, faced some controversial personal press. J. Crew continues to expand its services, stores and niches prudently, diversifying formats with J. Crew, Madewell, crewcuts and J. Crew Factory Outlet locations. In preparation for a U.K. store, the brand began international e-commerce to the U.K. in addition to its Japanese market. Additionally, it opened its first Canadian location and held its first formal fashion show, which was very well received.

32
T.J. Maxx
1,547$m
▲6%

Off-price retailer T.J. Maxx, part of the Marmaxx Group along with Marshalls, ranks #119 among the Fortune 500 and its comparable store sales increase almost each year. 2011 saw a 4 percent rise. As a player in one of the best performing retail sectors, T.J. Maxx is adding new stores, some featuring The Runway, a high-end designer department. Meanwhile, its 14,000 global vendors ensure a steady stream of product to meet customer needs. While not "best in class" in social media, the brand encourages Facebook friends and Twitter followers to post great finds. Marmaxx continues its considerable philanthropic efforts and last year published its first corporate social responsibility report.

33
Marshalls
1,545$m
▲4%

Marshalls, the other half of the Marmaxx Group, has a slightly smaller following than T.J. Maxx and has the perception of carrying fewer "high end brands." However, Marshalls continued to expand, introducing a new shoe store concept to capitalize on its growing footwear sales. The Marmaxx Group does a good deal of customer research to understand shoppers' needs and preferences, and Marshalls' key strength is its freedom to carry low inventories, constantly refreshed to ensure it's always trend-right. Within the off-price category, there is little differentiation between T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Ross Dress for Less. And while differentiated from traditional department stores, the lines are beginning to blur with competitors like Kohl's who offer discounted prices with a more structured shopping experience.

34
PetSmart
1,527$m
▼-7%

PetSmart's brand strength is rooted in its ability to continually innovate and expand into new services. The first-mover in the pet care industry for veterinary clinics, training, boarding and day camp within its stores, PetSmart recently added dog toys from Toys "R" Us Pets and rock and roll star Bret Michaels to its list of exclusive partnerships with Martha Stewart Pets and GNC Pets. Although it's difficult to replicate some of the brand's differentiators online, the channel is aligned with the in-store experience and remains important not just in promotions, but in disseminating knowledge and expertise helpful to its "pet parent" audience. PetSmart Charities finds homes for homeless pets, reinforcing the brand's position. Overall, the brand remains true to its core strategy of providing total lifetime care to pets.

35
Toys"R"Us
1,253$m
■0%

Although Toys "R" Us opened half as many holiday pop-up stores in 2011, the retailer opened 21 stores, including 11 of its successful "R" superstores that combine Toys "R" Us with Babies "R" Us. It continues to expand its presence in Europe and Asia. The toy seller is focusing on exclusive brands and products to grow sales and compete with Walmart. It's also proving forceful in the mobile space, giving consumers the ability to learn more about products before purchase. A new online catalog is devoted to layaway, making both layaway and flexible payment options available online as well as in store. The brand now lets shoppers designate someone else to pick up their online items instore, and its new "ship from store'' program uses store inventory to fill online orders.

36
RadioShack
1,252$m
▼-11%

RadioShack, or The Shack, experienced a slight dip in comparable store sales but strengthened its presence by opening more Radio Shack Bullseye Mobile kiosks in Target stores in 2011. It now has nearly 7,300 locations in North and South America, Europe and Africa. The veteran retailer supplies the less tech-savvy consumer in search of convenience with a curated mix of products, especially mobile devices and carriers. In March, the brand closed its three PointMobl test concept stores and ended the year with the announcement that it's searching for a new creative agency of record, while working with global media agency Mindshare to improve its online advertising. With such a large network of small formats, RadioShack is very dependent on sales associates to deliver its brand attributes.

37
Dick's Sporting Goods
1,247$m
▲14%

Despite being a sporting goods superstore, Dick's succeeds by feeling small thanks to its "stores within a store" format, and the fact that it acts local, recognizing different needs and sports calendars by region. To mitigate increasing competition from mass merchants and online specialty stores, Dick's delivers expertise and exceptional service in store, employing PGA and LPGA professionals, certified fitness trainers and trained bike mechanics, for example. The brand has been aggressively promoting its online channel, where it has yet to express its main differentiator, professional expertise. Dick's has been recognized for its "Protecting Athletes through Concussion Education" program, designed to raise awareness and provide funding for concussion testing for high school athletes.

38
Whole Foods
1,191$m
▲12%

Expecting to see consumer demand for natural and organic products increase, Whole Foods Market is building upon its Health Starts Here (HSH) program as a means to differentiate the brand as a leader in information and education around healthy eating and living. In 2011, Whole Foods rolled out more HSH prepared foods, provided new online resources and placed a HSH point person in each of its stores as a resource to shoppers. Even as it strives to be the finest food shop within its communities, Whole Foods will continue to offer value-oriented options, and saw great success with its first Living Social deal promotion. The company recently approved expansion plans for the U.S. and U.K. and was named Retailer of the Year by VMSD magazine for its store design and artful merchandising.

39
Dollar Tree
1,166$m
▲7%

A Fortune 500 Company, Dollar Tree increased its media spend by 30 percent in 2011 to support the brand's bright, fun and friendly experience, as well as promoting its value and great deals on "small surprises." It opened 86 stores in Canada, growing its fleet to over 4,100 and increasing overall store footprint by 7-8 percent. Comparable store sales increased strongly and Dollar Tree's operating margin remains among the highest in the value retail sector. The company recently began using point of sale data to make smarter inventory allocations. Online, its high utility e-commerce site is optimized for mobile, and supported by 24/7 telephone service and nicely organized for its small business customers. The soft economy continues to propel Dollar Tree's performance.

40
Bath & Body Works
1,164$m
▲2%

Bath & Body Works continues its focus on its customers, engaging them to a high degree via social media, and delivering a consistent and rewarding brand experience with a goal of building brand advocates. Despite a small advertising presence, Bath & Body Works enjoys very strong awareness. The company's high operating income indicates its relevancy as an affordable indulgence — despite the continued macroeconomic conditions and plenty of competition from less expensive outlets. Bath & Body Works now has more than 1,600 stores nationwide with plans to expand internationally. In 2011, the retailer invested in a mobile-friendly website. While it experienced some changes in executive leadership, Bath & Body Works' luxury for the masses continues to win.

41
Urban Outfitters
1,111$m
▼-4%

Described as hip and ironic, Urban Outfitters is an innovative specialty retail company that caters to a highly defined customer niche in North America and Europe. The brand seeks to create an emotional bond with the 18 to 30-year-old shoppers who share its odd sensibility and who enjoy a less usual shopping experience — one that is entertaining and artfully inspirational. The brand succeeded in increasing its social media presence significantly in 2011 to promote greater dialogue with customers. It now makes online product recommendations, and saw sales based on this advice jump 700 percent. The retailer also introduced a line of wedding gowns, although the initiative has been perceived as a brand disconnect. More recently, it launched an exclusive online men's suit shop, fully infused with its unique brand personality.

42
American Eagle Outfitters
1,066$m
▼-16%

American Eagle Outfitters operates in a very crowded retail space, preppy back-to-school apparel for teens, where it relies heavily on promotions and price. But the brand's strong suit is its digital interaction with customers. Recognizing its audience's preference for mobility, American Eagle announced its partnership in the launch of Google Wallet which allows shoppers to pay, redeem discounts and earn loyalty points through their smartphones. In 2011, the retailer increased focus on its e-commerce business, including a redesigned website which resulted in strong sales growth. The company operates more than 1,000 retail stores in the U.S. and Canada, including 148 aerie and nine 77kids stores. Its website, ae.com, ships to 76 countries.

43
Big Lots
1,012$m
▲8%

A general merchandise discount retailer, Big Lots' merchandise mix consists of approximately 50 percent closeout, 25–30 percent imported home furnishings, seasonal items and toys, and the balance in food. Big Lots continues to see an increase in higher-income shoppers thanks to the economy and Big Lots' real estate strategy — that of taking over better locations from shuttered higher end stores. The company also acquired retail locations in Canada this year. With sales, store count and sales per square foot going up, the Big Lots brand is proving its greater relevance. It also seems to be shifting focus from national advertising to its Big Lots Buzz Club loyalty program, which shows commitment to delivering the right customer experience but perhaps at the expense of awareness.

44
Buckle
970$m
NEW

While specialty apparel retailer Buckle offers better-priced apparel, footwear and accessories, more than 40 percent of sales come from jeans. Given Buckle's mix of labels, it has done well staying on top of trends. This is largely thanks to a unique system that allows Buckle to respond daily to what is selling store by store, and the retailer has more merchandise flexibility than stores that only carry their own lines. At the same time, Buckle's exclusive private labels give it a bit of a proprietary ingredient. Same store sales were positive in 2011, with e-commerce sales up a healthy 25 percent. Buckle stands out from its peers with its complete focus on customer experience, offering personalized shopping assistance, free alterations, layaway and a frequent shopper program.

45
Abercrombie & Fitch
962$m
NEW

Abercrombie & Fitch, with its premium priced collegiate clothing and wayward sex appeal, is returning to form. In 2011, the brand grew sales by 22 percent — shuttering underperforming stores, opening new ones and increasing same store sales by a steady 5 percent. Its international unit generated a noteworthy 79 percent rise in net sales. A handful of new stores are slated to open in Paris, Madrid, Düsseldorf, Brussels and Singapore. There is no mistaking the Abercrombie & Fitch visual style, which extends into social media where the brand has a distinct presence and millions of followers. Parents continue to rail against the brand's sexualization of young people, as in its recent offering of a padded push-up bikini top for tween girls.

46
Tractor Supply
928$m
▲18%

Tractor Supply does not sell large-scale farming equipment, but it does offer home improvement skewed to the needs of the rancher and hobby farmer. The retailer dedicates itself to supporting rural areas that typically can't support big box brands such as Lowe's and The Home Depot. Tractor Supply's tagline, "For Life Out Here," connects strongly with its audience. Its website, magazine and messaging align with its brand position, being very clear about who Tractor Supply is and who it serves. In 2011, the company surpassed the 1,000 store mark while its stock price rose nearly 80 percent. It has little to no presence in social media, which seems appropriate for the brand's authenticity.

47
Family Dollar
871$m
▲10%

Family Dollar saw record sales and earnings in 2011. In March, the company rejected a multi-billion dollar buy-out offer from the Trian Group. To continue to serve its low-income customers and attract more middle-income shoppers, Family Dollar launched a renovation program to increase store productivity and improve the shopping experience. Key consumables as well as health and beauty aids have been expanded in stores, leadership training enhanced, adjacencies improved and building refreshes applied to its fleet of 7,000. Aggressive renovations will continue as will the addition of 450–500 new store openings in 2012. While Family Dollar shoppers can visit its online channel for coupons, deals, budget-stretching recipes and tips, they largely look forward to its weekly circular of savings.

48
Advance Auto Parts
799$m
NEW

One of the larger players in the auto parts business with 3,500 stores, Advance Auto Parts saw an increase in sales, number of stores, earnings and sales per store. Its distinctive brand message, "Service is our best part," is raising awareness. Going forward, the brand intends to differentiate itself through service leadership and superior availability. Advance Auto Parts is indeed perceived to be more about service than sale, thanks to the home delivery of auto parts in select markets. To build loyalty, an enhanced website adds more functionality including the ability for customers to maintain their own online "garage," view instructional videos, download an app, and research car manufacturers' recall information.

49
Macy's
775$m
▲5%

Macy's same-store sales climbed 4.6 percent in 2011, thanks to its product choices and celebrity affiliations, the continuation of the My Macy's initiative that tailors local assortments and shopping experiences, and most recently its high-fashion capsule collections from acclaimed designers. The retailer's focus on the customer is clearly evident. The "Magic of Macy's" theme now extends to "Magic Selling," an energized approach to customer engagement through its store associates. Rather than resist channel blur, the company plans further integration between in-store and online channels, and will use mobile engagement to drive business both online and in the stores. Macy's demonstrates the advantage of a powerful brand strategy and the relentless dedication needed to bring it to life.

50
Rent-A-Center
771$m
NEW

Macy's same-store sales climbed 4.6 percent in 2011, thanks to its product choices and celebrity affiliations, the continuation of the My Macy's initiative that tailors local assortments and shopping experiences, and most recently its high-fashion capsule collections from acclaimed designers. The retailer's focus on the customer is clearly evident. The "Magic of Macy's" theme now extends to "Magic Selling," an energized approach to customer engagement through its store associates. Rather than resist channel blur, the company plans further integration between in-store and online channels, and will use mobile engagement to drive business both online and in the stores. Macy's demonstrates the advantage of a powerful brand strategy and the relentless dedication needed to bring it to life.

01
Tesco
11,011$m
▲9%

Despite Tesco's decision to pull out of Japan, international expansion led to good sales growth in 2011. Tesco has more than doubled its U.K. sales and profit over the last decade, securing its position as market leader. Digital has become a big focus for Tesco, and its efforts paid off with a win of "Multi-Channel Etailer of the Year" at the Oracle World Retail Awards 2011. One highlight of the digital strategy was the launch of the world's first virtual store in Seoul's subway. While Tesco's overhaul of its Double Points loyalty scheme in favor of its Big Price Drop campaign this year initially resulted in an increase in shoppers, the move also resulted in some customer backlash. The brand must be careful to deal with this issue in the U.K. market in order to maintain market leadership.

02
Marks & Spencer
6,256 $m
▲3%

Over the past 125 years, Marks & Spencer has become something of a national treasure in the U.K. and this has been cemented in recent years by the "Your M&S" campaigns. Despite operating in some challenging markets, M&S International business delivered a strong performance with an increase in sales for 2011. The brand has continued its focus on "Plan A" with aims to become the world's most sustainable major retailer by 2015, and has announced that it is ahead of schedule for meeting the targets of the program. M&S believes that this program creates value in three ways: cost savings, staff motivation, and brand differentiation. This year, the company continued to build recognition for the brand through celebrity endorsements. Adding to its positive 2011, M&S was awarded the prize of U.K.'s top family brand by ad agency Isobel and YouGov.

03
Boots
2,852 $m
▲15%

Boots performed well financially this year despite the economic climate. A mixture of positive financial performance as well as continuous development of its products and services offerings boosted its score. In particular, the brand's internal culture, which is committed to customer service, ranks high. This dedication is reflected through its employee development programs aimed at ensuring that they have the best people supporting and developing the customer offer and weekly surveys to verify consumers' needs are being met. This constant innovation has enabled the brand to maintain a high level of relevance with consumers. The company's continual development of boots.com has also positively impacted the brand, with its "Order online and collect in store" feature now available in nearly all 2,500 Boots stores across the U.K.

04
Asda
1,576 $m
▲13%

Asda's "everyday low prices" tagline has allowed Asda to stand apart from competitors in terms of price and helped accelerate growth. This has been bolstered by the "Asda guarantee" which says "if we're not 10 percent cheaper on your comparable grocery shopping we'll give you the difference." The same message is reinforced digitally through its app. Asda has also made an effort to offer consumers a consistent brand experience and in 2011 was involved with one of the biggest conversion programs in retail history — the transformation of the Netto chain of stores into new local Asda Supermarkets. Other initiatives that had a positive impact on its business include its "Chosen By You" product range, where every product is tried, tested, and approved by the shoppers before it is allowed to reach Asda's shelves.

06
Sainsbury's
976 $m
▲15%

Sainsbury's continues to hold its position in between more upmarket supermarkets such as M&S and Waitrose, and more pricefocused retailers like Tesco and Asda. Customers expect Sainsbury's to trade responsibly and ethically without compromising on quality or value, and this remains at the heart of everything it does. There has been a great response to this offering with customer numbers hitting an all-time high of 21 million transactions a week during the year. An overhaul of its marketing tagline to the more relevant "live well for less" allows consumers to see value without losing the quality perception of the brand. However, the loss of the company's marketing and brand chiefs at the close of 2011 along with the departure of Jamie Oliver, its signature brand ambassador, leaves an air of uncertainty about the brand's future.

07
Argos
876 $m
▼-4%

Argos expanded on its already successful multichannel offering in 2011 with the launch of a new home shopping channel, Argos TV, on the Sky digital TV platform, which can also be viewed online. The brand, which is well known for its message of value, choice and convenience, continued to reiterate this throughout its communications this year. Argos has maintained its commitment to being highly price competitive through the use of weekly price comparisons on around 10,000 products and its Argos Value and WOW lines. However, Argos' financial performance declined in 2011 despite positive initiatives, in part due to a drop in disposable income. It reports a "significant decline" in consumer electronic purchases and other "big-ticket" items. This, paired with increased competition from online retailers such as Amazon.com, has challenged the retailer.

08
Morrisons
438 $m
▲2%

Morrisons is the U.K.'s fourth largest food retailer by sales and currently holds 11.8 percent of the grocery market, according to the latest Kantar figures. The brand is taking steps to be more responsive to market changes and consumer needs, with a focus on building online channels, where it lags in comparison to competitors as it does not run an e-commerce site. As part of this strategy, Morrisons bought a stake in U.S. online fresh food company FreshDirect to help boost its online capabilities. This year, Morrisons also committed to investing €3.6 billion in its stores and private label ranges. As part of this, the brand developed a new format of stores, M-locals, a convenience store focused on fresh food.

09
Waitrose
382 $m
▲13%

Waitrose continues to weave its focus on quality, freshness, and high standards of customer service into everything it does. As part of the John Lewis Partnership, it enjoys a unique business model, in which everyone who works for the Partnership also owns the company. As a result, Partners are active co-owners in the business, which means they have a share in the profits and have a real say in determining its future. In 2011, Waitrose saw an almost 10 percent sales growth, in large part due to its focus on attracting more new customers through investing in value, innovative top-tier ranges, new spaces, and new formats. The brand's success is clearly shown, earning several important awards and receiving top honors in the 2011 "Which?" Annual supermarket satisfaction survey.

10
Debenhams
288 $m
▲1%

The company's "Designers and Debenhams'" offering, which showcases designer clothes at affordable prices, continues to strengthen its performance. Debenhams has also focused on improving its digital experience, including an extension of the brand's beauty club offering, which incorporated an app version. It continues to be one of the first brands to use Facebook credits outside of a gaming context to reward consumer engagement. Other multichannel investments have included an augmented reality app allowing consumers to visit a virtual pop-up store and Debenhams Extra kiosks enabling customers to self-serve in store. Both investments provided customers with new ways to find and buy products. However, more steps may need to be taken in order for Debenhams to be seen as truly differentiated from its rivals.

01
Carrefour
11,076 $m
▼-17%

The biggest French retailer, Carrefour, has been in the process of revamping its hypermarket model and in 2010 it unveiled Carrefour Planet. Contrary to high expectations, this costly project has resulted in retail malaise with a profit warning. Due to the economic crisis, unorganized structure and stock shortage of Carrefour Planet, the concept has been put on hold. What's more, internationally Carrefour had a lagging performance in emerging countries. A large battle between Carrefour and Casino led the giant to lose ground in Brazil which was a global strategy priority market. The company's negative press again illustrated an inability to create brand consistency and presence. Given the pressure on price, bad image, lack of vision and negative internal commitment, Carrefour has a negative projected outlook on the brand value.

02
Auchan
3,155 $m
▲10%

Auchan, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, saw an increase in brand value this year, despite some margin pressures. To cater to customers' growing demands for convenient shopping, the group better developed its drive-through shopping offers Chronodrive and Auchan Drive and also launched an urban hypermarket in France under the Auchan City banner. Still, despite experiments with new formats, Auchan's focus continues to be hypermarkets. This year, it performed especially well in emerging markets, which offset difficulties in Western Europe. It has also proven adept at adapting the hypermarket format to different markets. For example, in response to consumer's perceptions that cheap products mean low quality or counterfeit products, it moved away from hard discount in China.

03
Leroy Merlin
1,930 $m
▲22%

Leroy Merlin is a DIY specialist in France that caters to both the private and residential market. This year, it aimed to strengthen online sales by partnering with Cameleon Software. The enhancements helped customers perfect their projects, while understanding their budgets at the same time. In an effort to meet female shoppers' tastes, it also reclassified its product categories according to different sensory attributes. Equally important, this brand has a large selection of tutorials that can be shared in the online community and in the store, ultimately helping to increase customers' loyalty and interaction with the brand. Additionally, Leroy Merlin was ranked as the "2011 Best Workplace in France" thanks to a culture of employee engagement. The brand continues to expand in Brazil, China, Spain, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Russia, and this year, the Ukraine.

04
Sephora
1,549 $m
▲18%

Sephora is known for its unique retail concept, which is rooted in its three characteristics: distinctive store design, helpful advice from sales specialists, and a broad range of product categories and innovative products. This year, Sephora performed well, even in a down market. The brand's private label and new exclusive brands have seen great success in stores. Additionally, a strengthened digital and social media strategy has helped increase its presence and loyalty among customers. Equally important, Sephora was called out as having the best customer service in France in 2011 in its category. Internationally too, Sephora finds innovative ways of growing its awareness in new markets. Nevertheless, it needs to make more efforts to support its brand heritage as it moves into 2012.

05
L'Occitane
1,475 $m
▲10%

L'Occitane significantly strengthened its online presence this year, as demonstrated by the increase in its e-commerce sales — especially commendable given the tough economic climate. Customers love the brand for its wide range of constantly renewed products. What's more, its strong presence of physical stores and special attention to interior design has resulted in customers associating the brand with French Provence and Mediterranean culture. Although sales in Europe continued to be challenged, there was tangible and sustainable growth in the U.S. and in emerging markets, such as Asia. The future looks good for L'Occitane, on account of its remarkable performance this year and the authenticity of the brand positioning.

06
Conforama
1,087 $m
▼-1%

PPR officially announced the sale of Conforama to Steinhoff in early 2011. The South African group has an ambition to make Conforama the #2 leading international furniture and electronics retailer. Conforama took over some of the shops of its competitors and expanded its sales channels. Equally important, this brand tried to improve the efficiency of its supply chain and continued to develop Confo Déco to target younger customers. The retailer's objective is to reinforce the image of discount and proximity through new intensive communication campaigns. This year, Conforama also made efforts in social media to rebuild a positive image.

07
Decathlon
908 $m
▲13%

Decathlon, which just launched its first shop in Slovakia, continues to build on its reputation for innovative products and excellent customer service. The retailer develops 3,500 new products every year and holds the highest budget for R&D out of all the French retailers on our ranking. This year, the group presented new sports products on its Decathlon campus and had direct feedback from customers. Furthermore, Decathlon is devoted to creating a fans community and sports culture through social media and the creation of Twin Village in Lille. Additionally, its work to organize sports activities for the young helps to promote brand awareness and customer loyalty. And yet, the brand could focus even more on its brand in the year ahead.

08
Darty
892 $m
▲1%

Darty has a strong online presence. Its website has a clear and modern layout and offers free delivery. This, combined with a strong presence of physical stores, backed with its high quality after-sales service, is a winning formula for people who are willing to pay a premium. This year the group confirmed and reinforced its multichannel sales strategy. Darty also updated its brand identity, adopting a new slogan that emphasizes its innovation. The brand's image was further refreshed with a new uniform (jeans and a red polo), packaging, and truck panel. Although the market has been challenging, Darty succeeded in increasing market share, its e-commerce business, and its margin.

09
Fnac
523 $m
▼-10%

Deteriorating sales and a tough economic situation prompted Fnac to unveil a new five-year strategy with an ambition to regain its position in France and abroad. With its new brand mantra "100 percent clients, 100 percent presence," it will open more stores in the suburbs and develop small local shops in medium-sized communities. New products and initiatives associated with the new brand positioning include "Kindle killer" Kobo, a space for children in its shops, a partnership with SFR, and complimentary equipment installation for clients. At the same time, it appears to have slowed international development. This year, it saw its brand value drop due to increased competition in high tech, price pressure from e-commerce brands, inventory and promotional management issues, and lack of a multichannel approach for its full product range.

10
Casino
467 $m
▼-5%

Casino has a range of store formats that emphasize convenience and discounted price, but efforts to offer a modern shopping experience that focuses not only on price or quality but also on the extra services in city centers has helped differentiate it from its competitors. Services it has focused on include free Wi-Fi and free online pick up in brick and mortar stores. Additionally this year, Casino and SAP partnered to build a mobile shopping platform. Its 2011 Heritage Days was also positively received, with more than 5,000 people visiting the headquarters of the Casino Group to view the exhibition "Casino, 110 years of innovation — the story of a brand," created to commemorate the brand's anniversary. And yet, even with these strong performance indicators the brand needs to reinforce its social media strategy.

01
Aldi
3,152 $m
▼-11%

While the chain is comprised of two separate groups, Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd, which operate independently from each other within specific market boundaries, the Aldi brand still enjoys awareness of 99 percent — the highest of all German retailers. Once again the company took first place in customer satisfaction studies for 2011. Aldi is also responding to the organic food trend by extending its product range. However, this year innovation has been fairly staid, with only one new concept store. Additionally, while competitors are increasing their social media engagement and involving customers through contests or raffles on Facebook, Aldi is not present in these spaces. Furthermore, Aldi has not announced plans to open an online store. While Aldi continues to have one of the highest brand strengths in the ranking, its main competitor, Lidl, was able to narrow the gap.

02
Edeka
1,433 $m
▲8%

In 2011, Edeka invested in its brand and, as a result, improved its performance. It is expanding its network with 200 stores opened or re-designed in 2011. The company also concentrates on quickly responding to demographic changes. For example, Edeka increased its engagement in corporate citizenship activities, installing a charging station for customers' e-cars and e-bikes in the carpark of one store. In support of its "We love food" slogan, the company offers a broad range of information about nutrition on its website. While Edeka ranks higher in terms of popularity and customer reach than its competitor Rewe, its social media engagement lags significantly in comparison. Still, in 2011 Edeka's ongoing investments in its brand, new shop and service offer launches, and partnership with companies such as Sparkasse helped boost its brand strength.

03
Lidl
1,414 $m
▲20%

Lidl gained slightly in brand value in 2011 and is catching up with competitor Aldi. The retailer continues to rank among the top 100 employers in Germany in the "Trendence Graduate Barometer." Additionally, it passed competitor Aldi Nord in customer satisfaction in the "Kundenmonitor" (customer monitor) ranking of discounters for the first time since it was evaluated in the study, though Aldi Süd still finishes in first place. Lidl was also named retailer of the year in the food sector by Q&A Research & Consultancy and received the best grades among all private labels by "Stiftung Warentest." Among those in its category, Lidl excels at engaging consumers through social media, organizing daily or weekly contests. Lidl's online store is also easily accessible and intuitive. In the year ahead, expect the rollout of new concepts, including store layouts and media strategies.

04
Media Markt
1,340 $m
■0%

Despite reducing its advertising expenditures in early 2011, Media Markt came back strong with a new campaign in the third quarter of the year and continues to have the highest expenditures of all retailers. The chain has a vast geographical spread with more than 615 stores in total around the world. This year, it further expanded its network, opening additional stores in China. Media Markt also announced plans to launch an online shop in January 2012, which will include the reorganization of its entire pricing system. The vending machines it introduced in 2010 were a great success and Media Markt is considering expanding the concept. Media Markt's owner Metro Group is among the top employees in Germany.

05
Kaufland
538 $m
▲3%

Kaufland continues to win customers with its broad range of products and high-quality service. The company has the largest assortment of products, with a range of 30,000-60,000. The chain garnered several awards in 2011, including best food retailer by DISQ; and YouGov rated Kaufland as one of the most popular food brands. This year, Kaufland expanded stores geographically, took a more proactive social media strategy, and continued to focus on the integration and re-branding of its Handelshof stores. The company wins high marks with employees as well. However, there remains a gap between Kaufland's performance and its brand perception: Kaufland could communicate its positive efforts and results even more to the public.

06
Rewe
439 $m
▲12%

Rewe continues to rank high in terms of trust and popularity. This year, the company focused on stretching its store portfolio, opening a new convenience store geared to the city center of Cologne, named "Rewe to go." Rewe also opened an online shop and is testing delivery service in Frankfurt. The company remains focused on corporate citizenship and hired former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer as a sustainability consultant this year. The brand continues to engage in sports sponsorships, including football club 1.FC Köln of the German top league and the German women's national football team. Although Rewe was involved in a hacking scandal in 2011, the company's appropriate response to the incident mitigated the damage to the brand.

07
dm
409 $m
▲14%

dm is Germany's fastest growing drugstore chain. It runs 2,500 stores throughout Europe, with more than 1,250 in Germany. In 2011, dm's revenue reached above €6 billion, which proves that it is gaining ground on market leader Schlecker. dm is also popular with customers; it is rated number one in customer satisfaction in the "Kundenmonitor" drugstore ranking. dm's commitment to initiatives in areas such as environment and social issues has also helped improve its reputation among customers. The company's efforts to engage through social media have resulted in 450,000 Facebook followers and dm has followed in this success by creating a separate Facebook account for its popular private label Alverde.

08
Schlecker
320 $m
▼-17%

Awareness of the German drugstore brand remains very high (96 percent), but halts to its expansion strategy and problematic employee management rumors made 2011 a difficult year. A significant number of stores were closed down and news spread about payment difficulties. Despite Schlecker being committed to improving its image and focusing on upgrading existing stores (with the "Fit for Future" program), in terms of brand experience the brand still lags behind its competitors. Even though Meike and Lars Schlecker overtook management and have made efforts to improve the overall brand strategy, the retail brand remains affected by negative buzz, about external communication practices and internal employer behavior. Overall, in 2011 the brand lost further ground to it's competitors.
(Note: The brand value was calculated using available information up to December 31, 2011.After this date, Schlecker announced their filing for insolvency, which is likely to affect its valuation from this point forward.)

09
OBI
278 $m
▼-1%

In the year following the 40th anniversary of the company, OBI continued to invest significantly in its brand. Extensive advertising and engagement, involving mainly TV and the web, has improved customer recognition, with a current awareness of 97 percent in Germany. OBI continues to lead the German do-it-yourself construction and hobby stores category and is increasing its market share. OBI's clear goal in the year ahead is to gain market leadership in all of its 13 markets. OBI also aims to further expand its network, with an eye on Central and Eastern Europe.

10
Netto
276 $m
▼-9%

In 2010, Netto's integration of its Plus stores benefitted the brand. Unfortunately, despite increases in its store network, it did not see the same success in 2011. Additionally, the company continued to be plagued by news of bad employee management. However, it made efforts to improve its image, including a new arrangement with a lawyer as an independent point of contact for employees — though the move's success is yet to be seen. Additionally, the company continues to miss out on the opportunity to regain customer trust and improve its reputation via social media.

01
Zara
8,065 $m
▲8%

Zara continues to bring excitement and constant freshness to fashion on the high street. This year, it showed a characteristic rally of expansion, increasing sales through a clear, consistent, and differentiated value proposition. Currently, Zara has 1,600 stores in 77 countries. It continues to leverage its logistics system to complete stock rotation every 15 days. In 2011, Zara proceeded with its successful entry into the digital world. It continues to expand and manage its online presence with more than 11 million Facebook fans. In 2011 the brand faced a double challenge: expanding online sales in key international markets like the U.S. in the face of H&M's online arrival scheduled for 2012, and strengthening its presence in Asia, North America, and in Australia and South Africa, where the brand arrived last year.

02
El Corte Inglés
1,827 $m
▼-23%

Despite more than 70 years of history and a status as an iconic brand in its home market, El Corte Inglés has had trouble recapturing its past reputation. Its financial results have been marred by Spain's economic crisis and its burdensome structure of expenditures, including managing more than 75 stores across Spain, a high investment in television advertising, and a brand strategy that has not yet captured a well-defined brand image in the contemporary market. Most importantly: it doesn't connect with a new generation of consumers, who are more style and trend-sensitive. The company needs a more proactive brand-building strategy, especially in terms of leadership and relevant innovations for the customer. However, its recent focus on the online space and targeting of the important premium shopper should position it better in the future.

03
Mango
1,199 $m
▲12%

Mango continues to create value through a strong brand personality, supported by celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson and Kate Moss. A new, more sober and elegant logo is a cue of the brand's growing maturity and understanding of its specific customer targets. Mango has focused on greater internationalization over the past two years, with a special concentration on countries like Russia and China. Mango intends for China to be one of its main markets in the next five years, with more than 3,000 shops. Mango is also increasing its presence in the U.S., thanks to an agreement with JCPenney. In terms of e-tail, Mango has distinguished itself in recent years pioneering in the exploration of online sales channels. It excels at communicating with its audience via social media and boasts more than two million followers on Facebook.

04
Bershka
873 $m
NEW

This brand of the Inditex Group enters the ranking of Most Valuable Spanish Retail Brands due to spectacular growth in recent years. Its profile may be less notable than other brands of the Inditex Group, but its revenue represents more than 10 percent of total Inditex earnings. Its expansion continues in countries like China and Japan — where it is one of only two Spanish brands with a presence (the other is Zara). Bershka taps the fashion market with a clear and distinctive proposition that connects with its target audience: girls between 14 and 20 who are looking for a trendy, urban fashion that helps them feel part of a larger social group. Bershka has built on this emotional connection to the brand. Its stores are characterized by their music, the design, use of color, and sense of fashion.

05
Mercadona
844 $m
▲22%

Mercadona continues to demonstrate what its president, Juan Roig, never tires of saying: "In times of crisis, consumption behavior must adapt to new situations and must promote significant savings." Mercadona increased its brand value because it fulfills its brand promise in a tangible manner, not only to its customers, but also suppliers and employees. Its success demonstrates that its messages of "always low prices" and "total quality" are both relevant and attractive to higher-income targets as much as lower-income targets. Indeed, customers, regardless of class, are willing to purchase Mercadona's private label products without hesitation. The brand is Spain's most mentioned, recommended, and preferred. It has a presence in 4.3 million households and attains an estimated 23 percent share of the domestic market.

01
Woolworths
4,203 $m
▲5%

Australia's largest supermarket chain has been ranked as Asia Pacific's Most Valuable Retail Brand two years in a row. With over 86 years of heritage in the supermarket category and locations in nearly every metropolitan and regional center across Australia, the brand is far more than a household name — it is a retail icon. Despite dour retail conditions in 2011, Woolworths continued to demonstrate resilience and longevity, even as it strayed from its traditional "Fresh Food People" positioning, and responded to aggressive competitive pricing activity. The brand is poised for continued strength in the future as it builds on the sustainability of its business model, strong supply chain relationships, expansion of its private label offer, and a greater emphasis on diversifying into a multichannel consumer experience.

02
Uniqlo
2,949 $m
▲13%

With recent high-profile store openings in New York, including a global flagship on Fifth Avenue, Uniqlo is raising the profile of simple, tasteful, and affordable fashion on the global stage. Tadashi Yanai, the CEO, is determined to build "a modern Japanese company that inspires the world to dress casual." The brand has strong international ambitions, with a target of 200 to 300 new stores a year. In its home market, it has announced plans for two massive flagship stores in Tokyo and experimented with pop-up stores in subway stations. Following the tragic events of March, the brand used its leadership position for good. Mr. Yanai personally donated ¥1 billion to the tsunami relief efforts. The company followed his lead with large donations and worked with "Save Japan" and ten internationally acclaimed artists on a line of charity t-shirts.

03
Harvey Norman
873 $m
▼-3%

After 20 years, Harvey Norman is still one of Australia's most recognized electronics and homeware retailers. The brand has countered a declining retail sector and the continued threat of online sales growth by focusing on its core competencies, including its franchise and property system, which has generated sustainable, long-term growth. In addition, Harvey Norman launched its e-commerce site and acquired several local franchises. However, to maintain its position as a leading brand destination, the retailer needs to develop a stronger, more unique brand positioning in 2012, while translating the equity of its physical presence further in the competitive online space.

04
Myer
599 $m
▲13%

As Australia's largest department store group, Myer has always strived to be "an international class retail business providing inspiration to everyone." The brand's key strength is the breadth and scope of its offer, which extends from home, electrical and everyday needs, to high-end fashion and style. The brand has become synonymous with accessibility, with its "Myer is My Store" promotions and communications. It also recently revamped its e-commerce platform to enhance its future growth potential (and survival), diversifying its offering online. Myer's ability to solidify its leading position will require continual investment in the Myer brand in 2012, together with continued expansion of its exclusive label lines and ongoing investment in its highly successful customer loyalty program.

05
David Jones
562 $m
▼-8%

With over 100 years of history, David Jones is one of Australia's oldest and most iconic retail brands. This year, however, the brand value slid behind key competitor Myer, despite the launch of a new campaign and tagline, and continued investment in the online retail space. Following the departure of its CEO in 2010, the company focused heavily on employee engagement, embarking on initiatives such as extended trading hours and better management training for its staff. It also re-shuffled its brand portfolio, which ultimately exposed a potential weakness in its in-store experience by noticeably obscuring and diluting the David Jones brand. In 2012, a renewed focus and investment in the master brand will be required to secure its position as a truly unique retail offering.

06
Suning
493 $m
▲1%

Suning remains the leading household appliance retail chain in China. This year, it focused on meeting consumer needs. Initiatives included the launch of the first training center in the industry to improve after-sales service in an effective and sustainable way, making good on its brand mission to "Bring happiness to your home." Suning also further strengthened its e-commerce platform with more sophisticated operations and the development of new apps for Apple users. Laox, a sub-brand acquired by Suning, will open its first store in China in the near future.

07
Muji
355 $m
NEW

Muji, which literally means "no brand," began as a private-label brand within Japan's Seiyu supermarket chain in 1980. Since its humble beginnings, Muji has grown into a powerful brand in its own right and its goods are widely distributed throughout Japan's extensive convenience store network. The brand continues to expand far beyond its core to cover cafes, flower shops, campsites and housing although the bulk of the business remains retail. Recently, the company has also experimented with small format stores and beauty-focused stores. While its promise of high quality at a low-price matches the current economic climate, its original positioning 30 years ago is now the standard in Japan. As such, it faces stiff competition from younger rivals such as Uniqlo.

08
Belle
310 $m
NEW

Belle has grown to be one of the largest women's footwear retailers in Mainland China. The retailer has seen success through its strategy to cover all market segments through a multi-brand architecture. Its portfolio includes several private label brands, each with its own distinctive brand image and personality. Meanwhile, 30 years of persistent expansion has paid off for Belle's retail channel, which has successfully penetrated rural areas and tier 4 cities. Belle also established its own e-commerce platform this year. The new sales channel has a clear positioning around quality and fashion, and has performed well to date. These factors taken together have built high awareness for the brand and positive perceptions among Chinese consumers, propelling the Belle brand forward.

09
Nitori
275 $m
NEW

In 1972, Mr. Nitori returned from a trip to the U.S. determined to provide Japanese home furnishings consumers with a Western level of affluence and a range of coordinated interiors at an affordable price. Since then the company has seen years of continuous growth. The company tends to maintain internal control of planning, production, and logistics rather than outsourcing, allowing a focus on quality as well as price. As an importer, it is one Japanese company that actually benefits from the current yen strength. Prior to the re-arrival of IKEA in Japan, there were few competitors in the space, and with Nitori's dedication to delivering consumer value, the brand has continued to perform well despite global players entering the market.

10
Yamada Denki
265 $m
▲10%

As the leading electronics retailer in Japan, Yamada Denki has impacted the industry significantly. In a move that symbolizes both consumers' changing needs and the challenges facing domestic electronics manufacturers, the company recently announced plans to sell more foreign products. This will further open the Japanese market to makers like LG, Samsung, and Haier, and increase the pressure on rival retailers to follow suit. Meanwhile, based on experience gained in China, the company upgraded its e-commerce site to support live chats. The feature allows consumers to negotiate on price if they find the same product offered for a cheaper price on a competitor's site.

11
Esprit
258 $m
NEW

A pioneer of the fashion industry, Esprit has lost its way in recent years as it struggled to compete with fast-fashion leaders like Zara and H&M. However, management is well-aware of the need for action, commenting in the fall of 2011 that the brand had gradually "lost its soul." The company is now focused on a brand revival, with significant investment planned for marketing and the retail experience, as well as plans to exit some European markets and sell off the U.S. business. However, while the brand enjoys strong familiarity in Germany and has plans to grow aggressively in China, the company has seen its share price plunge in 2011 and many challenges lie ahead.

12
Ito Yokado
242 $m
▲20%

As a member of Seven & I Holdings, Asia's largest retail group, Ito Yokado has considerable resources to draw on. The group's Seven Premium private label, which launched in 2007, now boasts over 1,000 SKUs and ¥380 billion in sales. The group has also been seeking synergy across its various point cards and its "nanaco" electronic money card, as well as running joint group promotions such as its recently announced Wi-Fi access available in limited group stores and restaurants. However, with multiple customerfacing brands in the market, there are still many opportunities to optimize the portfolio and build brand value.

13
Aeon
238 $m
NEW

The Aeon Group claims roots that reach back to 1758 and as the second largest retail group in Asia, it has capabilities on par with many top retail brands. Aeon has consistently taken the lead in its sector, launching its Topvalu private brand in 2004 and acting quickly to respond to consumer fears of food contamination. In 2001, following a nationwide health scare, the group began labeling beef to allow traceability to individual cows. Following the 2011 disaster in Japan, the group announced radiation testing on produce, which earned praise from Greenpeace. While the company has been consolidating its businesses under the Aeon brand, there are still considerable opportunities to simplify the portfolio.

14
ABC Mart
208 $m
NEW

ABC Mart, one of Japan's leading footwear retailers, has seen fast growth over the last decade expanding from 20 stores in 2000 to 574 stores in 2011. The brand has successfully adapted store formats to match regional differences and executes a data-driven approach to its sales strategy. Alongside national brands, the retailer offers private brands, and owns the open trademarks for VANS and Hawkins in Japan. Although the company performs well, it needs to better differentiate itself from competitors and expand on the story behind the brand to create a deeper emotional connection with consumers. Additionally, its presence remains limited overseas with stores in just Korea and Taiwan.

15
Meters/bonwe
202 $m
▼-50%

Fashion retailer Meters/bonwe earns a great deal of attention in China for its heavy investment in advertising, but it faces many challenges. With so many sub-brands, it is unclear if consumers understand what Meters/bonwe stands for. MTEE says "everyone loves MTEE," MJeans says "be you be cool," and yet another series is named "I am new made-in-China." With a lack of focus, the brand may not be connecting emotionally with consumers. Additionally, Me & City, its high-end sub-brand aimed at mature urbanites, is struggling to win hearts and minds largely because it cannot distinguish itself from Meters/bonwe's low-end image. And finally, the company foresees financial inefficiencies ahead as it aggressively expands store coverage and expects overstocking of inventories. Together, these are significant challenges for the brand in the near future.

RETAIL SERVICES

Brand Strategy

Why do shoppers choose your brand? The answer lies in the shopper’s needs, your market position and your company’s culture.

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Retail Design

Pure creativity gives you an endless supply of fresh thinking to take to market. To get to the place where new ideas happen, we immerse ourselves in your retail brand and your shopper.

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Document and Rollout

You love the design. Now we make the retail architecture work. You need fixtures and graphics, materials and lighting design of course. But what goes on behind the walls and above the ceiling?

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Shopper Sciences

If you’re not winning at retail, it may not be for lack of investment. It may be for lack of insight. Visions uninformed by insight rarely win.

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Digital Development

Our smartphones mean our favorite store is only a thought and a muscle twitch away. How does a retail brand handle the push-pull of an always on-line customer relationship?

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Case Studies

Burger King

It was time for a refreshed environment. Burger King's restaurants didn't deliver on its "Have It Your Way" brand promise or its hip, irreverent advertising campaign. We helped the company complete its brand strategy loop, elevate the experience globally and extend the brand into new markets. Learn more ▶

Carrefour

Already the hypermarket leader in suburban areas, Carrefour decided to focus its attention on urban, on-the-go consumers: those in a rush and with limited transportation means. Through its partnership with Interbrand, Carrefour implemented a new store format to suit a very dense, city environment. Carrefour City offers innovative solutions to make life easier for urban consumers on a day-to-day basis. Learn more ▶

Dollar General

Dollar General, the leader and creator of the dollar store category, knew it was time to improve its shopping experience. As part of an effort to enhance the look and feel of the store, Dollar General asked us to refresh its logo and create a new communications and standards program for its more than 9,500 stores. The work has delivered outstanding results, and properly positions the value story through aspirational messaging and merchandising.

Holiday Inn

InterContinental Hotels Group recognized Holiday Inn's relevance was at risk. To get back on the business traveler's radar, Holiday Inn had to adapt to the changing needs of the business traveler. We worked with them to develop a relaunch program to create a more contemporary brand image, improve quality and drive consistency for the more than 3,000 hotels around the world. Learn more ▶

Homemakers

The renovation to Homemakers Furniture sets a new benchmark in the furniture industry. We remodeled or redesigned every inch of the 400,000 square-foot space to create a state-of-the art destination store. With a space of this size, it was essential to make it easy for the customer to understand and use the store, so the new design focuses on ease of access, visibility, vertical circulation, traffic flow, merchandise displays and check out.

H&R Block

We worked with H&R Block to create a new Times Square flagship office, which blends technology with the heritage of the 55-year-old company to create a dynamic brand experience that capitalizes on its high-traffic location. The space represents a significant change for the office which transformed from stark white walls to a colorful and energized branded experience.

JCPenney

Legendary American retailer JCPenney has 1,100 stores in the U.S. but in its 100-year history had never ventured into the country's fashion capital. The aim was to appeal to the New York aesthetic, while addressing the distinct challenges of its Manhattan Mall space and remaining consistent with the broader store base. Learn more ▶

Michaels

Michaels, the nation's largest specialty retailer of arts and crafts materials, saw five categories as transformational to its business. We partnered with Michaels to expand and highlight those areas so it could better compete with both independent retailers and other major competitors. With the help of shopper insights — and with an eye on the return on investment — we created a store with more personality that provides inspiration and fun throughout.
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Mini

From Carnaby Street to the European rally circuit, the MINI brand has achieved legendary status since its launch in 1959. When BMW decided to relaunch the cult car in 2001, our challenge was to combine old and new to create a clear and consistent worldwide profile. MINI needed to be seen as an independent brand in the premium segment, while creating the greatest possible differentiation from the BMW brand. Learn more ▶

Piaget

The boutique concept for Swiss watch and jewelry brand, Piaget was based on communicating elegance through treatment of space. Since designing that space, Interbrand has accompanied the brand in the evolution of this retail concept and its implementation across the globe, including the Time Gallery, an exclusive museum space in Switzerland showcasing Piaget's pieces and history, and the brand's latest flagship in London.

Pollo Campero

Beloved Latin-American brand Pollo Campero was seeking growth opportunities and needed to come to the U.S. market in a bigger and more relevant way. A new brand strategy, restaurant design and logo celebrate "Fresh Latin Flavors" and passion for food. The new customer experience signals flavorful excitement and is attracting customers and exceeding sales expectations.

Sephora

Today, Sephora is the largest cosmetic and perfume retailer in the world, but back in 1994 there was no such thing as a cosmetics one-stop shop. We created Sephora as a place where everything was designed from a woman's point of view. Our revolutionary design for a complete retail environment defied traditional sales models and conventions by building a shopper journey that, in effect, creates a perfume and cosmetic supermarket. Learn more ▶