Survey: Annual Study Ranks Most-Competitive Retailers

Herndon, Va. In a study of more than 540 nationwide companies that ranked the most-competitive retailers, Publix Supermarkets retained the No. 1 retail spot for the second consecutive year with a “W score” of 92.0.

The annual Most-Competitive Retail & Consumer Goods Study, which was sponsored by SAP AG and conducted by independent research firm wRatings Corp., utilized a 100-point scale, or “W score,” to rank how well businesses built consumer and economic advantages.

Coach earned the No. 2 spot on the most-competitive list, rising from the 15th position in the 2007 ranking of most-competitive retailers. However, the retailer in the Top 20 most-competitive list that showed the biggest jump in standings was Family Dollar, which rose from a ranking of 64 in 2007 to No. 3 in the 2008 survey.

Rounding out this year’s Top 10 most-competitive retailers, in chronological placement from No. 4 to No. 10, were Claire’s Stores; Staples; New York & Co.; Gap; Michael’s Stores; Williams-Sonoma and Petco. With the exception of Williams-Sonoma, which fell from a ranking of five in 2007 to ninth place this year, each of the retailers among the Top 10 had improved its competitive positioning year over year.

Ross Stores was ranked No. 11 on the most-competitive list, falling from the No. 3 position in 2007. Neiman Marcus, American Eagle and J. Crew came in at the 12th, 13th and 14th placement respectively and each of these companies showed a marked improvement over 2007.

Gymboree, at No. 15 in 2008, lost considerable ground from its sixth-rank slot the previous year. Retailers ranked No. 16 to No. 19 in the 2008 survey—Nordstrom, Niketown, Amazon and PetSmart, respectively—each showed improvement over 2007. Kroger slipped from the 17th most-competitive slot in 2007 to No. 20 on the 2008 list.

The survey utilizes financial and consumer data, including responses from consumers as to how well retailers have met their expectations every quarter. The 2008 ratings are based on surveys and data from the first quarter of this calendar year. According to wRatings, the “W score” measures a company's ability to generate sustainable economic profit through competitive moats, or barriers to entry, as rated by consumers. The firm stated in its release, “Each W score blends a company’s historical economic profit with its forward-looking ability to meet consumer expectations.”

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