The troubled supermarket also gained a fillip from news that it was outperforming rival Morrisons, and that it had replaced HSBC as sponsor of ITV's Drama Premiere series in a 12-month deal reportedly worth £5m, elevating it from fourth position last week (PRWeek, 25 March).
Tesco was knocked off last week's top slot, closely followed by rival Asda. The chains began the Easter sales with a fierce price war.
Sporting Exchange, the owner of Betfair, the online betting exchange, has reappeared in the top five after a seven-month absence, securing fourth position, following news that a strategic review in which it appointed NM Rothschild as adviser could lead to a stock market flotation worth up to £100m.
Somerfield also made it into the top five, as Icelandic retail conglomerate Baugur began a bidding war for the chain, valuing it at £1bn.
Prudential plunged into the bottom five, as it reeled from CEO Jonathan Bloomer's ousting in a £1.5m-plus payoff deal. Investors were said to be angered over a £1bn rights issue in October, only two months after Bloomer admitted that he had failed to sell Prudential-owned online bank Egg for more than £1bn.
Morrisons stayed at the bottom, dogged by relentless negative news following its takeover of Safeway.
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 26 March-1 April
Ranking Rank last week Organisation NNI
1 4 Sainsbury's 197.4
2 1 Tesco 169.5
3 2 Asda 142.3
4 33 Sporting
Exchange Ltd, The 76.5
5 439 Somerfield 74.9
1 1 Morrisons -350.7
2 n/a Jessops -61.4
3 1526 Prudential -53.5
4 362 City Index Ltd -29.1
5 n/a Topps Tiles -27
Source: www.newsmetrics.co.uk/Thomson Intermedia plc *Rank last week is
position from bottom of table