By  on January 21, 2009

Lifestyle-oriented specialty stores, move over. Wal-Mart, Target and Coach are among the 10 chains ranked as the most valuable U.S. retail brands in Interbrand Design Forum’s first evaluation of store identities. The findings signal a new willingness on the part of consumers to let large-scale stores become “gatekeepers for their lifestyles,” said Bill Chidley, IDF senior vice president. Wal-Mart leads the top 10, Target was ranked fourth, and luxury player Coach, 10th. “No one wears a J.C. Penney or Wal-Mart T-shirt around as they would an Abercrombie T-shirt,” Chidley noted, but the presence of 17 big shopping arenas among IDF’s 50 most valuable retail brands — including Kohl’s (22nd) and Penney (24th) — indicates people now see these destinations as places offering “meaningful brands” for their lives. Traditionally, shoppers have visited stores like Wal-Mart, Target and Home Depot (ranked 3rd) for “access to goods” at the value prices afforded by the huge scale of such venues; the nature of the brands offered was often a secondary consideration, he added. These days, women shopping J.C. Penney can find items from Sephora, Bisou Bisou, Nicole Miller and Liz and Co., among others, and Kohl’s customers can find products from the likes of Adidas, Columbia, Fila, Danskin, Lee, Levi’s and Nike. The ratings are based on IDF’s valuations of store brands themselves — using variables such as geographic presence and customer loyalty — and its subsequent estimates of the dollar contributions the brands will make to revenue realized from shoppers’ purchases at those retailers. For 2009, the group is projecting the value of Wal-Mart’s brand at about $129 billion of the revenue that will be produced by the U.S. enterprise; Target’s at about $17 billion and Coach’s brand at an estimated $9 billion. While Target is a style-driven name, the presence of pure fashion brands starts with Coach, followed by Nordstrom (13th), Victoria’s Secret (16th), Gap (19th) and Tiffany (20th). In all, 23 apparel and accessories retail brands made the 50 most valuable list. Four of them were from the high-end: Polo Ralph Lauren, ranked 21st, with a brand value assessed at roughly $4 billion, as well as Coach, Nordstrom ($6 billion) and Tiffany ($4 billion).

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