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Macy’s Gets Some Good News

Macy’s may have had a mediocre 2015, but its business isn’t as bad as its most recent results indicate.

According to the Harris Poll’s 28th annual EquiTrend Study, published Wednesday, Macy’s ranked as department store of the year, taking the top spot from Kohl’s, which had been sitting pretty since 2012.

The Harris Poll, which is owned by Nielsen, evaluates brands’ health over time based on consumer assessments comprising three factors: familiarity, quality and purchase consideration. For this year’s study, more than 97,000 U.S. shoppers measured more than 3,800 brands across nearly 500 categories.

Macy’s was also highlighted as one of 13 brands that increased their equity rating by more than 7 percent since 2014, which the poll described as a significant jump given the tendency for equity to resist rapid movement.

“Consumers form impressions of brands long before they ever use them, based on their perceptions and what they may know from trusted sources,” Joan Sinopoli, vice president of brand solutions at Nielsen, stated. “This high-level equity is the gateway to eventual purchase; it also helps to protect brands from the consequences of an occasional misstep. The strength of a company’s brand equity can have direct business and financial outcomes.”

That’s likely music to Macy’s ears. The department store chain’s sales slipped 3.7% to $27.08 billion last year, while net income was $1.07 billion, a decline of nearly 30 percent compared to $1.53 billion in 2014.

Other retailers that ranked high among respondents included:

• Discount shoe store: DSW
• Luxury department store: Nordstrom
• Off-price retailer: T.J. Maxx
• Online department store:
• Sporting goods store: Cabela’s

For a full list of winners, check out