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M-W ValueReport on Retail Market Leaders 2003: The Path to Financial Success is in Uniqueness, not Discounts.

Business Editors

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 14, 2003

M-W Value Leaders 2003 include Bloomingdale's, J.C. Penney, Kohl's,

Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Target and Wal-Mart

Many retailers are rethinking their most fundamental positioning due to the recent financial success of many discount-oriented stores. But according to the Miller-Williams ValueReport(TM) Retail Market Leaders 2003 released today, discount is NOT the key to their success. In fact, consumers rate the Image of a retailer -- whether upscale or discount -- more than two times as critical as Execution.

Perplexed? So were we until we studied the research results showing what really drives consumers decisions about where to shop. The number one Value Driver for retail consumers is Brand & Atmosphere. The core emotion that drives Brand & Atmosphere is Creativity, which is why offering something unique is more essential than low-prices for retailers. Want to beat Wal-Mart? Don't duplicate: instead innovate. Successful retailers occupy a unique position in the consumer's mind. This doesn't mean retailers cannot replicate the best parts of a business design -- that part is always obvious. But consumers want variety, so retailers must find their distinctiveness and be consistent in how they communicate it.

Value Leaders include upscale-oriented Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, as well as the more discount-oriented Kohl's, Target and Wal-Mart. J.C. Penney and Toys R Us are also Value Leaders. While these companies can be differentiated on the price of their offerings, what they have in common is performing well in regards to aligning their brand and overall experience in a unique way, allowing them to deliver superior value to consumers.

Retail Market Leaders 2003 is unbiased, un-sponsored research that analyzes how well 20 retail market leaders are delivering value to their customers. Based on interviews with 635 active consumers during March 2003, the research answers critical questions such as:

-- What are the key value drivers for retail consumers? How well

does each major retailer perform on each value driver?

-- Which retailer programs are delivering the most value to

consumers? Why?

-- How do consumers segment based on value-price? Which

attributes are consumers willing to pay a premium for? Which

attributes don't matter?

-- Which retailers "own" a particular value-price segment? What

are their vulnerabilities?

-- How can mom-and-pop retailers compete with the volume

retailers?

-- How can retailers increase demand for the products in their

stores? How well does each major retailer perform in terms of

Products? Leadership? Sales? Marketing? Service?

-- Where do retailers rank performance-wise across the 30

standard attributes of value delivery?

-- Which retailers are rated as OutPerform, In-Line and

UnderPerform? (for brokers/analysts)

-- Plus many more charts and analysis (95 pages total)

To order the full 95 page M-W ValueReport(TM) ($99 US), visit Miller-Williams Inc. at http://www.millwill.com/markets/mkt-retail.htm, call 800-790-6070 toll-free or 858-200-8565 worldwide, or send an inquiry to info@millwill.com.

The research covers twenty retail market leaders including Bloomingdale's (NYSE:FD), Costco (Nasdaq:COST), Dillard's (NYSE:DDS), J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP), Kmart (Nasdaq:KMRT), Kohl's (NYSE:KSS), Macy's (NYSE:FD), Marshalls (NYSE:TJX), Mervyn's (NYSE:TGT), Neiman Marcus (NYSE:NMG), Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN), Robinsons-May (NYSE:MAY), Ross (Nasdaq:ROST), Saks Fifth Ave (NYSE:SKS), Sam's Club (NYSE:WMT), Sears (NYSE:S), Target (NYSE:TGT), TJ Maxx (NYSE:TJX), Toys R Us (NYSE:TOY) and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT).

Full Disclosure

Miller-Williams Inc. asserts that no companies sponsored this research and no founders or executives of M-W directly hold stock in any of the companies measured, nor have they traded any of their stocks in the last year.

About Miller-Williams Inc.

Miller-Williams Inc. is an international research firm serving the financial community, corporate executives, advertising agencies and consultants in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. Our core business is to rate the levels of value delivery by companies using their patented research method.

No other firm systematically rates company performance of value delivery on a continual basis. Close to 200 financial and news broadcasters cite or use our reports, and we serve over 10,000 clients and members via our M-W ValueReports(TM), a well established tracking system on 100+ market leading companies in 10 industries. Because M-W uses a consistent method to collect, build and analyze respondent data, we are able to generate accurate, reliable results every time. For independent analysis that validates past M-W research, go to http://www.millwill.com/res-findings.htm.
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