Sports Direct named UK’s least reputable retailer

Shirebrook-based retailer Sports Direct has been dealt another blow after being judged as the UK’s least reputable retailer.

According to the Reputation Institute, Sports Direct suffered a significant decline in RepTrak pulse score from 53 in 2016 to 48.4 in 2018.

Mike Ashley’s sports retailer performed worst on four measures in the report: Workplace, Governance, Citizenship and Leadership.

The Reputation Institute said the results demonstrate a “clear link” between declining reputation and declining profits, with their poor ranking following the company announcing a 73% decline in profits in July, from £282m to £78m.

Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, chief reputation officer at Reputation Institute, said: “Sports Direct’s overall reputation has tumbled in the past year, alongside its profits. The company recently suffered a huge backlash from investigative journalists who compared working conditions to ‘the gulag’ and the firm was investigated by MPs shortly afterwards.”

Meanwhile, Amazon, Boots and John Lewis top the 2018 UK Retail RepTrak ranking of the most reputable retailers.

The top 10 companies which are considered to have an excellent or strong reputation are:

3.John Lewis
9.Tiffany & Co

Hahn-Griffiths said: “Amazon’s combination of selection, value, personalization, and no hassle customer service is a winning formula. Amazon has a loyal following with more than 100 million Amazon Prime subscribers ‘Prime Day’ sales have become a major retail event.

“Despite their position of strength, Amazon is faced with reputation risk based on the proposed “Amazon tax” and growing criticism of working conditions in their vast distribution centres.”

The rapid rise of discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl, who rank highly in the study, also highlights that there is a strong link between company performance, good products/services and improved reputation.

The report suggests that consumers are increasingly wary about the ethics behind the goods they purchase. The growing trend in the public wanting to understand if products are sustainable and if companies practice moral policies, mean that positive influence on society, fair business practices and ethical behaviour accounted for 17% of overall corporate reputation.
The current state of the retail sector

6.Food & beverage
10.Media & publishing

Despite the well documented woes of some of the UK’s retailers and an overall fall in UK corporate reputations in 2018, the retail sector continues to enjoy a strong reputation and outperform most sectors, the report said.

Nine of the ten most reputable retailers in the UK blend online and offline retail, suggesting an integrated retail solution is a key path to success.

Hahn-Griffiths concluded: “While more than 2,000 stores have closed or are at risk of closure so far in 2018, the report shows the rapid change in the retail sector creates opportunities for companies who get the balance of high quality products/services and responsible business right.”

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