Walmart Tops List of 2012 Best U.S. Retail Brands

Mega-retailer Walmart has retained its No. 1 position on U.S. Most Valuable Retail Brands list for 2012 from golbal branding consultancy Interbrand. The report ranks the top 50 U.S. retail brands by brand value, in addition the top retail brands from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, and the Asia Pacific. The U.S. brands were listed for the fourth time in collaboration with Interbrand Design Forum, the retail experience group within Interbrand.

Beyond the U.S. list, Tesco, Carrefour, Aldi, Zara, and Woolworths ranked as the No. 1 retailer in their respective markets, all holding their top spots from last year. All but one, Zara, are predominantly food retailers.

While the total brand value of this year's top U.S. 50 retail brands is flat, many brands experienced double-digit growth in value, with the average a healthy 4 percent. The threshold for the U.S. league table has gone up more than 90 percent from last year, since it now takes a brand value of $ 771 million to make the top 50.

The report identified several shifts in the U.S. top 10. Walmart is still No. 1 by a huge margin, with a brand value of more than $139 billion, down 2 percent from 2011. Target maintained its No. 2 position, with a value of $23 billion, up 1 percent from last year. Also in the top 10 are Walgreens, at No. 6, and Sam’s Club, at No. 8.

Other food retailers to make the U.S. list were Publix (No. 12), Dollar General (No. 14), Costco (No. 15), Whole Foods Market (No. 38), Dollar Tree (No. 39) and Family Dollar (No. 47).

“One of the most compelling lessons from the list is that the best brands didn’t stand idly by, waiting for further signs of recovery,” noted Bruce Dybvad, CEO of Dayton, Ohio-based  Interbrand Design Forum. “They contributed to it by anticipating their customer's desire to return -- not to shopping as usual -- but to something better. For the most part, companies have invested in better store experiences and put more capabilities into the hands of their shoppers.”

The report also found that online retail spending continued to grow, from almost 7 percent to almost 9 percent of all U.S. retail sales. When it comes to mastering the integrated omnichannel environment, however, the retail industry as a whole seems to have barely scratched the surface, according to Interbrand: For individual retailers such as Walmart and Target, online revenue accounts for less than 2 percent.

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