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Walmart, Kroger tie in ranking

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NORWALK, Conn. — Competition among retailers for the top spot on this year’s PoweRanking list was closer than ever before, according to Kantar Retail, which said that Walmart and Kroger Co. finished in a virtual tie for first place.

The 2016 edition of Kantar’s PoweRanking list showed PepsiCo and Coca-Cola Co. as the leaders among manufacturers. In each year’s survey, manufacturers are asked to rate retailers by a number of metrics, and retailers are asked to do the same for their suppliers. According to Kantar, the study’s objective is to research and benchmark how retailers and manufacturers view each other in the most important areas of the manufacturer-retailer relationship. The study also identifies the companies that set the performance standard in the eyes of their trading partners.

Walmart has long been dominant on the retail side of the ranking, and the Bentonville, Ark.-based company continues to outrank all other retailers in the areas of clear strategy and supply chain management. One manufacturer noted: “Walmart has consistent, clear, widespread strategies.”

Kroger’s strong performance in the overall retail standings this year was due to its ability to innovate and maximize the shopper experience by applying insights derived from both suppliers and its own 84.51 shopper insights firm, according to Kantar. In this year’s survey, manufacturers voted Kroger No. 1 in the categories of “best retailer to do business with,” “best buying teams,” “most innovative merchandising” and “best practice category leadership.”

One manufacturer summarized: “Kroger has developed strong collaboration and partnership with manufacturers, and they continue to deliver strong business results.”

“Perhaps the quote that best summarized 2015 was, ‘Never before has so much change produced so little value for the industry.’ As we entered the 2016 calendar year, many of the same trends of 2015 continued, all of which reinforce the idea that we are in an era of permanent transition and change,” said Daniel Raynak, Kantar Retail’s executive vice president for strategy and development. “However, those organizations that have embraced the change in 2016 and took swift actions against big, relevant opportunities are beginning to see the return on the changes they have implemented.”

The first- and second-place finishes for PepsiCo and Coca-Cola in the PoweRanking survey represent their highest historical rankings ever in the annual benchmarking study, which Kantar Retail has now conducted for 20 consecutive years.

PepsiCo showed broad improvement across many of the strategic and operational metrics measured in the study. The company was praised for providing top-class data analytics capabilities. One major retailer noted: “PepsiCo has embraced the data and has brought new insights and analytics. They have really transformed the conversation [between our companies].”

Coca-Cola received the top ranking for innovative marketing, receiving plaudits from retail partners for creative campaigns, such as “Share a Coke.” One retailer commented: “Coke is building the interest of consumers with its new ‘Share a Coke’ campaign. The customers are excited to look for their names or favorite songs on the bottles.”


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