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Interbrand has released its list of the world’s most valuable retail brands and, in the US at least, e-tailers are among the companies showing the biggest annual growth.

The Best Retail Brands 2012 report shows that Walmart remains far and away the strongest brand in the US with a value of $139.1bn, followed by Target with a brand value of $23.4bn.

The first online-only retailer on the list is Amazon coming in at ninth with a value of $12.7bn, followed in tenth place by eBay which is worth $9.8bn.

But while Walmart’s value fell by 2% and Target’s increased by just 1%, Amazon and eBay saw growth of 32% and 16% respectively.

Amazon “enjoys strong brand recognition with customer-centricity at the core of its brand strength.”

The report states that online shopping in the US now accounts for close to $200bn in revenue, accounting for 9% of total retail sales.

The number is about 10% in the U.K. and 3% in the Asia Pacific. However for Walmart and Target online sales account for less than 2% of total revenue.

Walmart has belatedly sought to change the way it manages its online retail operations so e-commerce executives now report to its brick-and-mortar store executives rather than operating in silos.

The move was made in response to Walmart’s customer, who wants a consistent, seamless experience shopping in store and online, comparing prices, assortment and availability.”

But despite the growth of e-commerce, Interbrand global CEO Jez Frampton says that high street stores are still an essential point of access for retail brands.

Brick and mortar is where every dimension of the brand comes alive for us to see, feel, smell, touch, taste, and hear. The store does what technology cannot — allows us the full usage of our senses.”

This tallies with research by Saatchi & Saatchi which shows that ‘Generation Y’ is still shopping on the high street, with 78% visiting local brick-and-mortar stores in the week before interviews were carried out.

Interbrand's UK top ten list of brands is a reflection of this, with the predictable big hitters filling the top spots. Tesco comes first with a value of $11bn, up 9% on last year, followed by M&S at $6.2bn (up 3%), Boots at $2.8bn (up 15%) and Asda at $1.6bn (up 13%).

The report notes that the increasing popularity of online shopping forced retailers to continually re-evaluate the balance between their channels. 

Brands such as Next saw poor pre-Christmas sales on the high street, but this was balanced by a strong showing from its online and catalogue business.

Understanding how and where to best express their brand in brick and mortar as well as online — and deliver the subtly different experiences customers want from both — remains a top priority for retailers."

David Moth

Published 23 February, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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