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Walmart, P&G Still No. 1 in Kantar's PoweRanking

According to Kantar Retail's 2015 PoweRanking survey, Procter & Gamble and Walmart are still tops in leadership, as they've been for more than a decade. 

This year, however, these two industry giants have two new rivals to watch out for: Kroger and PepsiCo each attained second-place rankings overall in their respective categories for the first time in the 19-year history of the annual benchmarking study, which measures the evaluations of trading partners on companies' performance.

Among retailers, more than half of manufacturer survey respondents continued to name Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart as the overall best-in-class retailer because of its massive scale, sustained strength in logistics and operations, and recent investments in digital and e-commerce capabilities that will enable it to secure consistent growth and profit over the long term. Cincinnati-based Kroger, meanwhile, received plaudits from manufacturers for its ongoing innovation and optimization of the data-driven tactics driving effective execution of its shopper-focused strategy.

Minneapolis-based Target came in at an overall No. 3 rank, but retained its top position in the Best Store Branding and Most Innovative Merchandising Approach categories.

CPG Success

On the CPG side, Cincinnati-based P&G was recognized for its strong brands and capabilities in aligning strategies in an evolving retail landscape, while PepsiCo was cited for its creative marketing strategies.

General Mills was all but tied with PepsiCo, garnering high praise for its strong customer teams. In fact, the CPG giant achieved the No. 1 position for Best Sales Force/Customer Teams for the third consecutive year.

Kantar Retail noted that this year's PoweRanking reflects a consensus across the consumer goods industries that a combination of rapid change, rising complexity, and intensified competition made 2015 an especially "growth-challenged" year, with some voicing concerns that the current focus of many businesses on "cutting their way to the bottom line" could cancel out the major investments that are necessary to "deliver the top-line growth required to sustain the industry."

"While 2015 may have been a challenging year, and we are likely at the beginning of a long period of evolution, in many ways there has never been a more exciting time to work in the industry," said Dan Raynak, EVP of strategy and development at Kantar Retail. "It may require some 'pivots,' but those who place the right bets will continue to play an important role in the lives of consumers and shoppers for many years to come."

The 2015 PoweRanking study featured responses from more than 600 retailers and manufacturers.

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