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    ‘M&S emerges as top global retailer’

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    According to an analysis by Havas Media, which was presented at the 2010 in Berlin, Marks & (UK) has emerged as the top global retailer.

    Other retailers to find place in the Top 10 list are Mercadona (Spain), Waitrose (UK), (UK), ’s (UK), Decathlon (France), Home Depot (US), Ikea (Sweden), Lowes (US) and El Corte Inglés (Spain).

    The Havas Media analysis, titled Brand Sustainable Futures, also shows that retail is perceived to be a leading sector in sustainability, with over 85 per cent of all retail brands within the analysis recording above average results. Furthermore, half of the top 20 brands were from the retail sector, reflecting the developed ability of brands in this sector to use sustainable programmes to build brand equity and consumer trust.

    Despite the overall positive results for the retail sector, Brand Sustainable Futures demonstrates some geographic differences for the industry. In Europe, retailers are playing a key role in moving their sustainable profiles forward. In particular, the UK shows strong results with retailers achieving the top five scores (M&S, Waitrose, John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and Asda) ahead of other food and consumer goods brands.

    In the US, there is a greater diversity of brands leading the rankings, with retailers such as Home Depot and Lowes among the top five leading sustainable brands. Retailers in the US share the lead with food and beverage brands (Kraft, Coca-Cola, Dannon), IT and brands (Google, Microsoft, Apple).

    In fast growing markets such as Mexico, China, India and Brazil, there is a greater diversity of brands from more unexpected industries that are using sustainability to improve brand equity and are now moving ahead of many retailers in the region.

    According to the report, there is still a gap between consumers intentions and their actual responsible purchasing behaviour. Of those questioned who do consider sustainable aspects when shopping, over half don’t do so systematically or often. The key barriers to responsible consumption in the fast growing markets are product availability and clear labelling, rather than price, the main barrier in western economies. Retailers, therefore, have a key role in making it easier for consumers to adopt more sustainable behaviour. Dependent on which region they are in this can be achieved either through clearer labelling, more engaging initiatives, wider product offerings in their stores or price incentives.

    “When it comes to sustainability, we believe retailers are well positioned to become the ‘Googles’ of the consumer goods industry. Through their ability to create the context for responsible consumption, they can make it easier, more engaging and relevant for consumers who are trying to live more sustainably,” said Sara de Dios López, director, Global Business Innovation, Havas Media, at the World Retail Congress.

    She continued, “Like Google, retailers are gatekeepers and in perfect position to help consumers navigate through a universe of products, helping them decide what benefits them the most at the very point of sale.”

    Havas Media is the global media network of Havas. Havas Media represents one of the world’s fastest growing media networks and its agencies have grown from 10 markets in 1999 to 116 markets in 2010.

    – IndiaRetailing Bureau