Retailers’ dominance over coverage starts to decline

High street retailers’ dominance of positive coverage in the business pages is coming to an end, according to the latest PRWeek Reputation Monitor.

This month’s survey, compiled by Thomson Intermedia and based on the firm’s National News Index scoring methodology, shows the number of high street brands in the top ten reduced to two from last month’s high of six.

From last month’s top ten just Tesco, which came top thanks in part to coverage of its moves into the Japanese market, and Marks & Spencer, which gained second spot due to an increase in coverage of its ongoing financial recovery, remain.

Safeway, Debenhams, Somerfield and Selfridges have all dropped out of the top ten to be replaced with a more even mix, including Royal Bank of Scotland and Nationwide representing the financial services sector, Canary Wharf Group from the property world, WPP on the marketing and communications side and BMW representing motoring.

The NNI allocates a figure based on factors including size of articles, positivity of mentions, circulation of publications and headlines.

Thomson business development director Jon Shepherd said after a slow start other sectors are now following the retailers’ lead in filling the news vacuum that has been created since the end of war in Iraq.

WPP has benefited from speculation concerning its takeover of troubled ad firm Cordiant. Likewise, RBS performed well with an NNI rating of 222.9 and a third spot placing, thanks in part to its takeover of insurance firm Churchill.

Regarding the bottom ten, the issue of fat cat pay resulted in GlaxoSmithKline gaining the worst rating out of any corporation or organisation during the period covered (19 May to 16 June).

The drugs giant’s controversial £22m golden parachute package for CEO Jean-Pierre Garnier was rejected by shareholders at its AGM late last month.

According to Shepherd, one interesting new entry into the bottom ten is Freddie Mac. The US mortgage company gained considerable interest among business editors when, earlier this month, it replaced its entire top management amid regulatory concern in the US over its internal corporate ethics.

Other firms in the lower reaches of the chart include Enron and ITV digital, which continue to gain bottom ten placings.

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