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Interbrand Design Forum, a respected retail brand consultancy, released on Tuesday its first-ever ranking of the 50 most valuable American retail brands.

And guess which retailer didn't even make the top 50? Yes, that would be Sears, the Hoffman Estates-based retailer that has seemingly been on a steady downward spiral since being acquired several years ago by hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert. The top-ranked retailer on the Interbrand list is Walmart, which seems to have triumphed over a lot of negative press in recent years about employee relations and other matters.

Best Buy was rated second, followed by Home Depot, Target and CVS. Deerfield-based Walgreens came in slightly behind CVS in seventh place. Several online only retailers did well in the Interbrand rankings too, including Dell computer company in sixth place, eBay in eleventh place and Amazon.com at No. 14. While Sears failed to make the list, several department store brands did: Nordstrom was twelfth, Kohl's was twenty-second and J.C. Penney ranked twenty-fourth.

"Successful brands bend and curve with the changing economy and continue to engage and deliver a unique experience to the consumer," explained Lee Carpenter, CEO of Interbrand Design Forum.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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