FINANCE

Study: Walmart most valuable retail brand

BY CSA STAFF

Dayton, Ohio Walmart claimed top honors as the most valuable U.S. retail brand, followed by Target, Best Buy, The Home Depot and Walgreens, according to the second annual Most Valuable U.S. Retail Brands study. The report, from Interbrand Design Forum, Dayton, Ohio, examines brands through the lens of financial strength, importance in driving consumer selection and the likelihood of ongoing branded revenue. All contenders must have publicly available financial data.

This is Walmart’s second year as the top U.S. retail brand. The study noted that the economic downturn has made the chain more relevant to an even greater number of shoppers, and its “Project Impact” store remodel program, which includes less inventory, wider aisles, lack of in-aisle displays, has paid off in high same-store sales.

“Walmart grew their brand value by 19%, or $25 billion, to $154 billion. It continues to be the most valuable retail brand in the world,” said Lee Carpenter, CEO, Interbrand North America.

Target also built brand value this year. With a 49% increase, it leapfrogged Best Buy and The Home Depot to take the No. 2 spot on the list. As a brand-led company, Target focused on improving its operations to boost performance in the face of reduced growth without compromising brand. The company streamlined its assets, according to what matters most to the Target customer.

Five brands are new to the list in 2010 are Dollar General (No. 18), which went public in 2009, Buckle (No. 45), Family Dollar (No. 46), Advance Auto Parts (No. 47) and Macy’s (No. 50). The study attributed Macy’ s debut is attributable to its three-year focus on becoming a “master brand.” By holding steady to its strategic direction, it has succeeded in capitalizing on brand to improve its financials, and the results are showing up in organic sales growth in its 850 stores.

“Macy’s now has the clarity and power of a national brand,” Carpenter said

Five brands fell out of the top 50 in this year’s list: Hollister, Barnes & Noble, Men’s Wearhouse, Gymboree, and Anthropologie.

Interbrand Design Forum’s Most Valuable U.S. Retail Brands full report is  available online at interbranddesignforum.com.

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Home Depot moves Black Friday to spring

BY CSA STAFF

ATLANTA The Home Depot announced that it will offer “Black Friday” deals this spring.

The company announced that in March and April, prices on hundreds of the most sought after spring products will be significantly reduced including: a variety of live goods and lawn care; outdoor power; eco-friendly gardening products; and patio and grills.

 

“Spring is our Christmas,” said Craig Menear, EVP merchandising. “Traffic in our stores is at its highest during the spring season as customers look to take on outdoor projects to improve the appearance of their homes and we want to give them the best deals possible to meet all of their outdoor needs.”

According to Home Depot, the date of its Spring Black Friday event will vary by market based on climate by geography. The first are set to begin on March 18.

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Stein Mart makes a profit, but sales down

BY CSA STAFF

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. For the fourth quarter of 2009, Stein Mart reported net earnings of $2.7 million or 6 cents per diluted share compared with a net loss of $56.2 million or $1.35 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2008.

The company reported net income of $23.6 million or 54 cents per diluted share for its fiscal 2009 period compared with a net loss of 71.3 million or $1.72 per diluted share last year.

 

Sales for the fourth quarter of 2009 decreased 6.1% to $341.8 million from $363.9 million in 2008. Comparable-store sales decreased 3.8% from the fourth quarter of 2008 to the fourth quarter of 2009.  For the 52 weeks ended January 30, sales decreased 8.1% to $1.2 billion from $1.3 billion for the same 52 weeks ended last year. Comparable-store sales declined 5.6% from 2008 to 2009.

“We are proud to have reversed two years of losses and earned a significant profit in one of the most demanding years in our company’s history,” said David Stovall, Jr., president and CEO of Stein Mart.  “Rigorous focus on inventory levels and freshness, dedication to expense reduction and emphasis on cash generation all contributed to our profitability this year.  Our 13,000 associates were instrumental in the gains we made in 2009 and I want to thank them for their devotion and efforts.”

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