The investment will create 4,800 jobs by the end of the year with the opening of three stores in the west country and London and a superstore in Merseyside, as well as standalone outlets for its George clothing brand.
But it was retailer Next that made the most dramatic leap this week, from 1,527th place to second.
Next announced a 17 per cent rise in retail sales and some analysts speculated it was taking market share from Marks & Spencer, this week’s worst performer.
The announcement that M&S chairman Luc Vandevelde was planning to depart did the retailer no favours.
Following close behind was the Ministry of Defence. Facing another potential procurement disaster, the MoD has come under scrutiny again following the revelation that the JSF plane, to be carried by two new aircraft carriers and replacing the ageing Navy Sea Harrier, is 3,300lbs overweight.
Shortly after the debacle, an apparent row broke out between Secretary of Defence Geoff Hoon and Chancellor Gordon Brown as the Treasury set about blaming the MoD for an £800m cash shortfall.
The ranking is compiled from Thomson Intermedia’s National News Index, a measure of media sentiment that excludes stock market reports and passing mentions.
What The Papers Say, p14