A list compiled by 24/7 Wall St., based on both shareholder and consumer satisfaction, placed Sears in ninth place on the Ten Most Hated Companies in America. The Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based company was one of two retailers – the other being Best Buy at no. 6 – that made the publication’s list. Facebook ranked first on the list, followed by American Airlines and AT&T.
The on-line publication, which provides analysis and commentary for equity investors, used a far-ranging set of criteria to compile its rankings. It considered total return to shareholders in comparison to the broader market and other companies in the same sector during the last year. It also reviewed financial analyst opinions on those companies that are public. Data from a broad array of sources, including Consumer Reports, JD Power, the MSN/Zogby Poll, ForeSee and the University of Michigan American Customer Satisfaction Index, was factored in. The publication also considered negative press based on 24/7 Wall St.’s analysis of media coverage and the Flame Index, which uses a proprietary algorithm to review more than 12,000 websites and ranks companies based on the frequency of negative words. Where applicable, the views of taxpayers, Congress and the White House were applied.
Sears made the list because “the aging retailer has done a poor job with customers in the past year, and the parent company has done poorly for Wall St. since Sears merged with bankrupt Kmart in 2005,” the article said. The performance of both brands has been so bad that shares in Sears Holdings have dropped 60% in the past year. Closing 100 to 120 stores after disappointing holiday sales didn’t help, and Sears.com did particularly badly in the recent ForeSee holiday online shopping customer satisfaction survey. It ranked sixth from the bottom out of the 40 companies on the list. The American Customer Satisfaction Index for Department and Discount Stores also ranked Sears near the bottom of the list, along with Kmart, according to 24/7 Wall St.