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The “2002 Power Rankings” released by Cannondale Associates list Kraft Foods and Wal-Mart at the top of the respective manufacturer and retailer listings.

The annual study evaluates how retailers and manufacturers rate each other in area such as strategy, service and profitability that are most important to their ongoing relationships with each other.

"This year we identified that retailers and manufacturers who are consumer-driven are the ones most likely to succeed," Cannondale said. "Companies that keep a close eye on consumers and help each other meet consumer needs engender support from their trading partners."

Kraft, passed Procter & Gamble P&G by taking the top spot in four of eight categories: highest strategic importance to customers; best combination of growth and profitability; strongest business fundamentals; and best sales force.

On the retail side, Wal-Mart actually increased its lead over Safeway from last year’s ranking, while Target Stores jumped three spots to the number three position.

“Mass and club” stores are the big retail story this year, according to Cannondale. “Wal-Mart, Target and Costco are the strongest gainers in the retailer composite.”
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