Sizing up 
Brand Value

What’s in a brand? Resiliency for one thing. That’s one of the key takeaways from Interbrand Design Forum’s annual ranking of the 50 most valuable U.S. retail brands. The study is based on the idea that retail brands have a financial net worth that can be measured through three metrics: the brand’s financial performance; the role the brand plays in driving consumer selection; and brand strength, or the ability of the brand to secure the delivery of expected future earnings.

According to Bruce Dybvad, CEO, Interbrand Design Forum, the rankings show how resilient brand-led companies can be — even in an environment where rapid change is the norm. 

“In the past year, the best-performing brands demonstrated their ability to understand customers,” he said. “They also found innovative ways to strengthen their relationship with their core customers.”

As it did last year, Walmart claimed the No. 1 spot on the U.S. list — no other retail brand was even in striking distance of the Bentonville, Ark., giant. Walmart’s brand value was put at an astounding $142 billion. Target once again claimed the No. 2 spot, with a brand value of $23.3 billion. But both of these brands were down in value from last year, with Walmart down 8% and Target down 9%. 

“Both chains missed major earnings expectations last year, reflecting the fierce competition for the discount and grocery dollar, which shows no signs of abating,” Dybvad said. 

Here’s how the Top 10 most valuable brands stack up (each brand’s position in last year’s ranking is indicated in parentheses): 

1. Walmart (Walmart)

2. Target (Target)

3. The Home Depot (Best Buy) 

4. Best Buy (The Home Depot)

5. CVS (Walgreens)

6. Walgreens (CVS)

7. Sam’s Club (Sam’s Club)

8. Coach (Dell) 

9. (Coach)

10. Dell (

New to the list this year is regional supermarket operator Publix, No. 14, which continues to make gains year over year by delivering superior customer service. (The regional chain is consistently recognized as a “best place to work” on various lists.) Other newcomers include Ross Dress for Less, Dollar Tree and Michaels. 

The U.S. ranking is part of the annual Best Retail Brands 2011 report, by global brand consultancy Interbrand (parent company of Interbrand Design Forum). The full report also ranks the top 10 retail brands from Asia Pacific (Woolworths), Canada (Shoppers Drug Mart), the United Kingdom (Tesco), France (Carrefour), Germany (Aldi) and Spain (Zara). 

The Retail Brands report is a fascinating read, especially for those interested in a global perspective. Each brand has its own succinct summary. Click here to download a copy.

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