Sainsbury's reputation soars after sales growth

Sainsbury's has emerged at the top of this week's reputation monitor after it unveiled the first improvement in quarterly like-for-like sales - up 3.7 per cent - in two years.

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

Best performers

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

Worst performers*

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

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