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11 May
Perhaps the most fundamental aspect to solid business practices is accurate and up to date access to data. This is nothing new to the business world - it is said that we live in the information age, but of course, there really has never been any other age. Information has always been power. When it comes to examining today's fast-paced retail world, nothing has really changed, except how quickly we can gain access to the most relevant data. Big data, as it's known, has allowed business to quickly and accurately analyze customer trends and behaviours in order to truly maximise sales potentials and ensure that no money is being left on the table, whether it's in a brick and mortar store or on the web.
Even as big data has allowed individual businesses to zoom in on what their customers are doing and suggest ways to improve business practices and marketing strategies, data collection is also becoming more readily available at a more macroscopic level, allowing businesses to compare their own values to each other, as the speed and accuracy of competitor tracking reaches new heights. With that in mind, the world-renowned retail industry analysis firm Interbrand has released its "2014 Best Retail Brands Report", detailing the relative brand values of some of the largest retailers in the world, broken down by region (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America).
It's unlikely to be a surprise to anyone in the retail world that Walmart is the most valuable brand in the world, holding a massive lead over the next most valuable brand, Target, despite Walmart's brand value decreasing by 6% compared to last year. Despite some consumer confidence scares thanks to a massive data theft during the holiday season, Target's value is up by 8%, placing its value at just over $27 billion - still a ridiculously far cry from Walmart's nearly untouchable $131 billion USD brand valuation.

Interestingly, even as the leading brands, known for their brick and mortar prowess post single digit losses or gains, in the North American sector alone, the two highest ranked rising stars are both e-commerce companies: Amazon and eBay, which posted brand value gains of 27% and 20%, respectively. The true shocker in the bunch is Macy's, which has posted an astonishing 383% brand valuation increase, well ahead of the next best grower, Whole Foods, which posted an equally impressive 173% valuation increase. Companies looking to maintain a competitive advantage can use these statistics as a relative metric of which business strategies are successful, offering a relatively risk free way to maximise potential profits.
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