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America’s most loved brands are…

BY Marianne Wilson

Four retailers rank among the top 25 most loved brands in the United States.

That’s according to an annual survey by Morning Consult that ranks the nation’s biggest brands based on brand favorability. Amazon claimed the No. 4 spot, with an overall rating of 76, and Home Depot came in at No. 15, at 72.1. Dollar Tree and Lowe’s tied at No. 19, both with a rating of 71.2.

Google took the top spot in Morning Consult’s Most Loved Brands in America, with an overall rating of 78.7, followed by Hershey’s, at 78.6, and Pillsbury, at 76.1.

The report also ranked favorite brands according to community. Trader Joe’s and DSW led among suburbanites, while Carhartt and Cabela’s were tops with in rural communities.

Morning Consult’s Most Loved Brands 2018 edition uses over 250,000 interviews with U.S. adults to provide an in-depth view of the companies, organizations and brands that define American culture and commerce. The data is sourced from Morning Consult Brand Intelligence.

The final rankings were determined using surveys conducted online among a national sample of adults. Between 2,500 and 50,000 adults rated each of the over 1,000 companies from January through March 2018. The average company was surveyed over 12,000 times. The maximum margin of error for a given brand is plus or minus 2%.

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Two men arrested in Philly reach agreement with Starbucks and the city

BY Marianne Wilson

Starbucks Coffee Company and the city of Philadelphia have both reached settlements with the two men involved in a racially charged incident on April 12 at a Starbucks location in the city.

The arrest of Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, both African American, sparked a national uproar around the issue of racial profiling. The two men were put in handcuffs and accused of trespassing after the store manager called police, saying they refused to order anything or leave. The men were waiting for a third person to have a business meeting.

On Wednesday, the men settled with the city for a symbolic $1 each, and a promise from officials to set up a $200,000 pilot program for young entrepreneurs.

Also on Wednesday, Starbucks announced that, after “constructive conversations,” it reached an agreement with Robinson and Nelson earlier this week. The coffee giant did not release the terms of the agreement, but said it will include a financial settlement and “continued listening and dialogue between the parties and specific action and opportunity.” It said more details “will be provided in a mutually agreed public statement.”

“I want to thank Donte and Rashon for their willingness to reconcile,” said Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson. “I welcome the opportunity to begin a relationship with them to share learnings and experiences. And Starbucks will continue to take actions that stem from this incident to repair and reaffirm our values and vision for the kind of company we want to be.”

Johnson traveled to Philadelphia to apologize to the men. He later announced that more than 8,000 Starbucks stores in the U.S. would close on the afternoon of May 29 for a training program designed to address racial bias.

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J.C. Penney’s latest brand partner is a judge on ‘American Idol’

BY Marianne Wilson

J.C. Penney is partnering with a multiple Grammy award winner.

The department store chain is launching an exclusive home collection designed by singer-songwriter Lionel Richie. Available now on the retailer’s website and debuting in select Penney stores this fall, Lionel Richie Home includes comforters, quilts, sheets, decorative pillows and bath towels, all designed to coordinate with the retailer’s existing JCPenney Home brand.

The new collection follows in the wake of Penney’s other celebrity lines, which include exclusive men’s clothing lines by Michael Strahan and Shaquille O’Neal, a beauty line by Rihanna and a holiday collection with Tracee Ellis Ross, star of ABC series “Blackish.”

Richie has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, winning an Oscar, Golden Globe and four Grammy Awards over the course of his career. He is also a judge this season on the television show, “American Idol,” on ABC.

“It was an easy decision to bring Lionel Richie’s first-ever home collection to J.C. Penney,” said Katheryn Burchett, senior VP of merchandising. “He is known for his polished, effortless style and he’s translated this appeal into a beautiful line of bedding and bath products that will resonate with the J.C. Penney customer — many of whom are Lionel Richie fans already.”

According to Penney, Richie played an integral role in the design and development of the entire brand.

“Because so much of my career has been spent on the road, home is truly a retreat for me. It’s a place where I can relax and spend time with my family and friends,” said Richie. “I am passionate about bringing my experiences at some of the world’s finest hotels into the fabric and design of my curated home collection so that J.C. Penney customers can make their home a tranquil, luxurious escape, without spending a fortune.”

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