Study: Walmart most valuable retail brand

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.