Top Retailers Reaping Rewards of Online Branding

NEW YORK–Despite having to deal with various logistical hurdles, financial setbacks and relaunches, America’s top five mass retailers may finally be seeing some success in branding their names with online consumers.

Between June 2000 and June 2001, Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney, Kmart, Target and Sears each have experienced more than a 20% growth in the number of unique visits to their respective Web sites. Target.com reported a 142% increase in unique visitors and Walmart.com saw 133% growth, followed by Kmart/Bluelight.com (36%), JCPenney.com (34%) and Sears.com (23%), according to a study released on Wednesday by Nielsen/NetRatings, New York.

“The bottom line is that having strong brand recognition and a large established customer base has proven to be a winning formula for brick-and-mortars,” said Sean Kaldor, NetRatings’ vp-analytical services.

Walmart.com and JCPenney.com topped the list among these retailers, each with more than 2 million unique visits in June. The others had more than 1.5 million unique visits each. Overall, the top five categories by number of purchases were clothing/apparel, home and garden, toys, health/beauty and video, according to NetRatings.