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05/25/2021

The most — and least — reputable U.S. retailers are…

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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Patagonia, an outspoken brand known for its activist environmental agenda, has the best reputation in the United States.

That’s according to the 22nd annual Axios-Harris Poll 100, which ranks the reputations of the 100 most visible companies in the United States based on a survey of nearly 43,000 Americans in a nationally representative sample conducted in April. (See end of article for criteria that determine ranking.)

Outdoor brand Patagonia not only had the best reputation in the retail sector, it also ranked as the most reputable company among all industries surveyed (18 in all), with a score of 82.7. Rounding out the top five overall are Honda, Moderna, Chick-fil-A and SpaceX.

Three other retailers also placed in the top 10 overall: Chewy (No. 6), Costco Wholesale (No. 9) and Amazon (No. 10). Among retailers, Sears had the poorest reputation, ranking at the bottom of the retail sector and 96th of all companies surveyed. (To see all the companies and their ranking, click here).

In the retail sector, the top 10 companies with the best reputations were: Patagonia, Costco, REI, Ikea, Lowe’s, CVS Health, Target, The Home Depot, Walgreens and Best Buy.

“The results of the poll bear out what we've been seeing at Axios, particularly among advertisers," said Jim VandeHei, co-founder and CEO of Axios. "Companies that advertise around corporate social responsibility and purpose is a hot trend right now. Messages about values not only boost a company's reputation, but they also help with recruiting talent, especially among younger workers that care more about what a company stands for."

Additional highlights from the study are below.

  • Top 10: The most visible and most reputable companies – Patagonia, Honda, Moderna, Chick-fil-A, SpaceX, Chewy, Pfizer, Tesla, Costco and Amazon – are separated by only small degrees. They do well in nearly every reputation category, with a continuous reputation improvement that keeps most of them at the top. Amazon is the only company in the top 10 with a reputation decline from last year.
  • Most visible: Amazon and Walmart are the two most visible companies in America today, followed by Apple, Facebook, Google, Target, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, Nike and McDonald's.
  • Biggest year-over-year improvements: Pfizer (9.86%), Dollar General (8.79%), Patagonia (8.69%), Hobby Lobby (6.20%), JCPenney (4.48%), Unilever (4.39%), Trump Organization (4.37%), eBay (4.36%), BP (4.04%) and Bank of America (4.0%).
  • Biggest year-over-year declines: Fox (-6.14%), TikTok (-5.21%), Google (-5.03%), Adidas (-4.63%), Delta Air Lines (-3.98%), Sears (-3.95%), Yum! Brands (-3.90%), Publix Supermarkets (-3.72%), Uber (-3.68%) and Procter & Gamble (-3.59%).

 

"Products, performance and – more than ever – purpose are driving the reputations of America's top companies and their leaders," said John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll. "Today, data privacy is separating 'good tech' from social platforms, Americans are burning out on streaming overload, and pharma continues to set the benchmark for companies championing innovation to solve some of society's toughest challenges."

 

The Axios-Harris Poll 100 ranking is based on company performance is seven key areas:

  • Trust – "Is this a company I trust?"
  • Vision – "Does this company have a clear vision for the future?"
  • Growth – "Is this a growing company?"
  • Products and Services – "Does this company develop innovative products and services that I want and value?"
  • Culture – "Is this a good company to work for?"
  • Ethics – "Does this company maintain high ethical standards?"
  • Citizenship – "Does this company share my values and support good causes?"