The 10 Most Admired Retailers

A company's reputation rarely ends up on its financial statement, but it is one of its most valuable assets. Retailers that can effectively create goodwill among its customers and the general public are able to build shopper loyalty that stands the test of time.

Fortune's annual ranking of The World's Most Admired Companies highlighted those companies that are not only thriving financially but foster a culture of social responsibility and innovation. To create the list, Fortune, along with long-time research partner Hay Group, surveyed 4,104 high ranking corporate executives to name the 10 companies they admired most across industries.

Companies were ranked on nine key attributes: innovation, people management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, quality of management, financial soundness, long-term investment value, quality of products/services, and global competitiveness .

Ten retailers ranked in the top 50 companies in the cross industry study. The top 10 admired retailers according to Fortune are:

Apple. The tech giant claimed the top spot for the eighth consecutive year. The manufacturer and retailer continues to sell its iPhone at a mind-numbing pace, setting a record with 74.5 million units sold in Q4 2014. Earlier this year Apple became the first corporation to reach the $700 billion market value plateau. Fortune ranking: 1.

Amazon. The e-commerce giant dropped two positions from its second place finish in 2014. With a product array that can seemingly meet every imaginable need, and an expanding fulfillment network that can get orders in customers hands in as little as an hour in some markets it is no surprise the retailer finished near the top of the ranking. Now if Amazon could only figure out a way to turn a profit. Fortune ranking: 4.

Nike. The athletic apparel manufacturer and retailer has been admired for its product and marketing innovation for decades. Its plan to bring some more manufacturing back home to the U.S. will further solidify the brand as the leader in the crowded athletic space. Fortune ranking: 13.

Nordstrom. The past 12 month have been very busy for the department store chain with a successful entry into Canada, the expansion of Nordstrom Rack, the launch of, and the acquisition of Trunk Club. The retailer plans to spend $1.2 billion — 30% of its spending budget — on e-commerce technology over the next four years. Fortune ranking: 14.

Costco. The big box retailer is known for its high wages and generous benefits package. The retailer pays entry-level employees $11.50 per hour and an average hourly wage of $21 per hour, which helps attract and retain in-demand associates. Fortune ranking: 16.

Whole Foods Market. As the leader in the growing organic and healthy food movement Whole Foods has obtained a near cult-like following among its customers. The supermarket chain is the place for up and coming organic food suppliers to get their products stocked and the retailer even has a financing program for organic entrepreneurs get their business off the ground. Fortune ranking: 18.

Walmart. Walmart is a money-making machine — with revenue north of $400 billion it is certainly the biggest dog on the retail block. The retailing giant doesn't just hoard its fortune however; it is the world's greatest IT investor. Its 11 figure investment ensures that associates and customers have access to the most up-to-date technology to facilitate the modern shopping experience. Fortune ranking: 38.

Home Depot. The home improvement powerhouse has been enjoying a stock price rally for most of 2015 powered by an improving housing market. A large scale data breach last fall seemed to do little to derail the retailer's financial performance and reputation. Fortune ranking: 41.

CVS Health. Although, the drug store chain's decision to cease selling tobacco products last year cost the chain around $2 billion a year in revenue, it did wonders for its reputation. Fortune ranking: 45.

Target. The retailer dropped 20 spots in the ranking this year fueled by its huge data breach in late 2013 and the closing of its Canadian operations. Fortune ranking: 48.