Pollsters Populus interviewed 99 editors and senior journalists from well-known national newspapers, supplements and magazines. The Communications Store, Beauty Seen and Grylls + Reade emerged as the most popular agencies in each sector.
In the fashion sector, journalists said in-house PROs were generally better to deal with because of their single-minded focus on their brand. But on the agency side, The Communications Store, founded in 1995 by Julietta Dexter, was lauded as 'totally reliable' and 'providing a speedy service in responding to queries and meeting product loan requests'.
The Kensington-based agency is run by Dexter with partners Tom Konig Oppenheimer and Daniel Marks, former head of press at Versace and Tommy Hilfiger.
Also popular among fashion journalists were Modus and Lee Publicity.
In the beauty sector, recently established agency Beauty Seen triumphed over rivals with journalists praising its 'dynamism and innovation'. The agency, based in London's West End, was set up in 2007 by Jo Tuthcener, a former comms manager for Estee Lauder.
The Communications Store was also praised by beauty journalists, who named Estee Lauder as best in-house PR team.
In the home sector, journalists gave the thumbs up to Camden-based consultancy Grylls + Reade for its 'pioneering' approach, and its understanding of lead times and subsequent forward planning, alongside its work for client John Lewis.
The agency, run by MD Jane Reade, was streets ahead of its nearest rivals Bright PR, Cameron PR and Portrait Communications.
Populus director David Racadio commented: 'Good relations with the consumer press are vital for all those in the retail sector. Understanding your product and knowing how to generate innovative and exciting copy is what will make you stand out.'