THURSDAY 13 SEP 2018 10:08 AM

BRICKS AND MORTAR RETAILERS DOMINATE REPUTATION STUDY

In 2013, Amazon – along with Google and Starbucks – was derided by Brits for their corporate tax practices. To now see it top the list of ‘most reputable retailers’ in the UK shows how far it has come.

The annual RepTrak index examines reputation by studying ratings from the general public and from nominated experts. It reports on all areas of business. Amazon’s crown was announced in this year’s UK Retail RepTrak, documenting the top retailers in the UK in categories including products and service, innovation, leadership and performance. Following Amazon in the top five are Boots, John Lewis, the Co-op and Ikea. Six of the top 10 are brands with British heritage and only two are digital-first retailers.

Amazon also took home the coveted number one spot in the US rankings in 2017. But in Britain, it has improved by 8.3 points year-on-year. Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, chief reputation officer at Reputation Institute, says, “Amazon’s combination of selection, value, personalisation, and no hassle customer service is a winning formula. Amazon has a loyal following with more than 100m  Amazon Prime subscribers ‘Prime Day’ sales have become a major retail event. Despite its position of strength, Amazon is faced with reputation risk based on the proposed ‘Amazon tax’ and growing criticism of working conditions in its vast distribution centres.”

Flying against the trend of recent reputation rankings across the retail sector, the supermarkets making the top 10 are the Co-op and Waitrose, denying Aldi and Lidl. While the German upstarts rank highly, consumers express a wariness about the ethics behind the discount retail goods. In this year’s study, fair business practice comprised 17% of overall corporate reputation.

That might also explain Sports Direct’s disastrous showing at the bottom of the pack. Declining profits, news about zero-hours contracts and a dubious leader meant the sporting goods chain was the worst performer in terms of workplace, governance, citizenship and leadership.

Hahn-Griffiths says, “In the battle to win over consumers in the UK, it is becoming clear that as well as offering great products/services, retailers today have to highlight they are being purposeful and socially responsible. Those who don’t prioritise ethically good values will inevitably see a reputational decline.”

In a look at the UK’s business sectors as a whole, retail comes in at fourth, after FMCG, automotive and industrial – a strong showing for a sector plagued by store closures and changes to shopping behaviours.

The top 10 most reputable retailers in the UK, according to the Retail RepTrak:

  1. Amazon
  2. Boots
  3. John Lewis
  4. Co-op
  5. Ikea
  6. Debenhams
  7. Sotheby’s
  8. Waitrose
  9. Tiffany & Co
  10. eBay

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