Lastminute propelled to second as banks suffer

Lastminute.com soared into the top five of this week's Reputation Monitor, narrowly beating Asda to the number-two slot. The travel website last week agreed to a £577m takeover by Sabre Holdings, owner of US rival Travelocity.

The week's biggest faller was Morrisons, which sank to second from bottom.

The UK's fourth-biggest supermarket chain issued its fourth profit warning since its £3.3bn acquisition of Safeway last April.

Chairman Sir Ken Morrison also refused to outline plans for his succession, further upsetting shareholders.

Lloyds TSB Group's lending practices were called into question after an audit found staff were encouraged to boost earnings by persuading customers to take out loans regardless of their financial circumstances.

National Australia Bank was in the news for closing branches. It plans to shut down 100 outlets in Yorkshire and Scotland.

Abbey completed a torrid week for the banking sector, falling into the bottom five after it emerged it is likely to be fined for its handling of complaints about misselling.

Tesco remained top after announcing a staff bonus, with more than £220m to be shared by 150,000 workers.

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

REPUTATION MONITOR - 10-16 MAY 2005

Ranking Rank last week Organisation NNI

Best performers

1 1 Tesco 174.6

2 865 Lastminute.com 135.3

3 4 Asda 135

4 3 Barclays 111.7

5 5 EasyJet 109.4

Worst performers*

1 2 MG Rover -247.7

2 1,680 Morrisons -204.6

3 1,370 Lloyds TSB Group -128.7

4 1,417 Abbey -115.1

5 310 National Australia Bank -86.6

Source: www.newsmetrics.co.uk/Thomson Intermedia plc *Rank last week is

position from bottom of table

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