M&S slumps as retailer rivals retain reign at top

Marks & Spencer plummeted to the foot of this week’s Reputation Monitor after poor sales for its home and clothing ranges and criticism surrounding fatty foods and disabled access.

A raft of negative coverage included what The Daily Telegraph referred to as ‘dismal’ sales figures, with like-for-like sales in the ten weeks to 18 September showing a 7.7 per cent slump.

The firm came out badly in a survey of fatty meat by the Food Standards Agency and was criticised by the Disability Rights Commission.

Rivals Tesco and Asda continued to attract favourable publicity. Tesco retained its top place following positive coverage of a trial involving radio frequencies to replace barcodes.

Asda stayed second after adopting a ‘tough’ stance on underage drinking and a petrol price survey that named the supermarket as the cheapest.

Owner Wal-Mart leapt 19 places to third following coverage of a planned buyout of Matalan.

Elsewhere in the top five, Vodafone grabbed fourth spot, buoyed by reports of its planned 3G launch.

P&O slumped to fifth from bottom amid reports of 1,200 job cuts and a shake-up of its ferry business.

Reputation Monitor is compiled by Thomson Intermedia’s National News Index, a measure of media sentiment that excludes stock market reports and passing mentions.

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