Updated March 31, 2011In 2011, twenty of the 50 companies on the Fortune Magazine "Top 50 World's Most Admired Companies" lists are members of the U.S. retail industry, or have significant retail operations as part of their business.
What makes a company admirable? According to financial analysts, investors, and corporate executives it's a combination of innovation, people management, social responsibility, financial soundness, and other aspects of corporate leadership and operational excellence. Considering the source of the ratings and rankings, the "most admired" list might also be named the "Most Likely to Be a Safe Investment" list.
The most notable change between the 2010 and 2011 Most Admired Retailers lists was significant ranking drop of the Toyota company. After deadly incidents due to manufacturing defects, Toyota lost both reputation and trustworthiness, two unmeasurable qualities that can cause severe damage in the eyes of both consumers and the investment community. It is probably only because of Toyota's prior history of excellence that it didn't fall off the "most admired" list completely.
Another retail company had a major change between its 2010 and 2011 Most Admired list ranking, but their change was positive. Starbucks rose from #26 in 2010 to #16 in 2011. After successfully downsizing, and realigning its vision and values, Starbucks has obviously regained favor within the investment community.
What follows is the list of 20 retail companies that were included on the 2011 Fortune Top 50 Most Admired list. The number in the left column indicates the ranking out of 50 that each company was assigned in 2011, based on its performance and activities in 2010.
- 2011 Least Admired Retailers
- Most Admired in 2011: What Wal-Mart Is Not
- Most Admired Consumer Survey
11. Wal-Mart Stores
14. Walt Disney
29. Costco Wholesale
33. Toyota Motor
36. Best Buy
40. Honda Motor
44. YUM! Brands
Do you agree with these "Most Admired" retailers?Take the Most Admired Consumer Survey and choose your own!