The least engaging retail brands are...

American Apparel, Aeropostale, Sears, Sports Authority and Whole Foods rank among the Top 10 least-engaging brands in Brand Keys' 2016 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index survey.

The annual listing, now in its 21st year, ranks brands based on customer input in the automotive, tech, retail, food and beverage categories.

Volkswagen is No. 1 on the list.

There are five retailers in the Top 10. American Apparel is Brand Key's third least-engaging brand with a ranking of just 38 of 100 on a scale of emotional engagement. Aeropostale is No. 5, Sears No. 6, Sports Authority—which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and last week said it would liquidate rather than restructure—sits at No. 9 and Whole Foods rounds out the list at No. 10.

Whole Foods suffered after being accused of price fixing and corporate hubris, according to the Brand Keys report.

"The fundamental reason these brands were rated so low for consumer engagement is because they were unable to meet the very high – and ever-growing – emotional expectations consumers bring to the marketplace," noted Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys. "These are the critical values consumers use to compare brand options when they shop. If you do poorly, consumer displeasure not only shows up on the list but harshly in the real-world marketplace. And shortly thereafter on profit-loss statements."

Some brands, including Abercrombie & Fitch and McDonalds, moved up in the ratings. Sears, however, remained in the Top 10 and continues to close stores.

Brand Keys queried 42,792 consumers, who are 18 to 65 years of age, from the nine U.S. Census Regions, and who self-selected the categories in which they are consumers.

For more:
- see this Brand Keys press release

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