WILTON, Conn. — Amazon.com is gaining ground as a “Power Retailer,” according to Kantar Retail’s 2012 U.S. PoweRanking report measuring trading partner effectiveness.
The Seattle-based online retailing giant ranked No. 5 in the list of those retailers projected to be Power Retailers in the next 15 years, with 16.2% of the votes, up 9.3 points over last year. Wal-Mart Stores remained No. 1 as a Power Retailer of the future, although it lost 9.5 points, to 71.3%.
The report, now in its 16th year, seeks to gauge the effectiveness of trading partners in a range of areas, with manufacturers rating retailers and retailers rating their suppliers.
“Amazon’s performance indicates how manufacturers view the future,” said Virginia Valkenburgh, senior vice president at Kantar Retail. “Bricks and mortar retailers are going to find it increasingly harder to compete with Amazon’s combination of convenience, value and understanding of shoppers.”
Wal-Mart was also No. 1 in the composite score of Power Retailers, followed by Target, Kroger, Costco, Publix Super Markets , Wegmans Food Markets , H-E-B , Walgreen Co., Safeway  and Dollar General .
One area where Target excels in each year’s study is in “branding the store to customers.” The Minneapolis-based retailer ranked No. 1 in that area with a 63.1% vote, well ahead of No. 2 Wal-Mart, which scored 35%. Rounding out the top five were Costco (24.1%), Wegmans (21.7%) and Publix (20.9%).
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H-E-B, which ranked No. 7 with 12.3% in that category, was one of the biggest gainers this year, up 1.4 points from 2011. One manufacturer commented that the San Antonio-based retailer “never stops studying and modifying their stores for their customers.”
Wal-Mart was once again ranked as the “best retailer to do business with,” but was followed closely by Target and Kroger.
“Kroger is a relationship-based company,” commented one manufacturer in the study. “Once the relationship is built, a partnership develops, which makes sales and profit goals very attainable.”
Other retailer attributes that were ranked in the study included best category management/buying teams, most innovative marketing and merchandising, best supply-chain management and best category leadership.
Among suppliers, Procter & Gamble was ranked No. 1 in the composite rankings, followed by Kraft Foods, General Mills, Unilever, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Coca-Cola, ConAgra and Kimberly-Clark.
This was the second year in a row that Kantar measured manufacturers’ use of digital, mobile and social networking platforms during joint planning. P&G also ranked at the top of that list at 33.6%, gaining 2.3 points to edge ahead of Kraft, No. 2 at 32.8%. They were followed by Unilever, General Mills, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Kellogg’s, Kimberly-Clark and Campbell’s.
“The overall lesson to be drawn from the study is the importance of customer- centricity to both partners,” Kantar said in a statement describing the report. “Those companies that ranked as best in class had strategies that aligned with those of their partners and placed customers at the heart.”
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