>>How private investors ranked the food and drink sector

And Lockwood says the survey shows how critical media coverage is to investor sentiment. “Press coverage matters. Would Morrisons have been where it is in the survey if it wasn’t for the supermarket struggle?”

But not all publicity is good publicity, as can be seen by what Lockwood calls the “shocking” position of Sainsbury’s result and by the fact Somerfield came in at number 27 on the WILink ranking.

investors, as the possibility of it taking over the troubled number four chain becomes more of a likelihood.
Sainsbury may well be able to better its position next year if the new chief executive can win back the confidence of the investment community. Safeway, on the other hand, is slipping down the investor agenda as the prospect of it disappearing from the UK food retailing stage increases and this is clearly reflected in its ranking.
Drinks manufacturers fare particularly well in the rankings, which is not too surprising given that the likes of Allied Domecq, Scottish & Newcastle and Diageo are global and pride themselves on their innovative strategies. But brewer Young’s position is striking, says Lockwood. “Is this the vocal chairman, their beer, or a belief in the property portfolio even though the family controls all the voting shares?”
Robert Wiseman’s strong showing is also interesting. Investors are clearly impressed by the fact Wiseman is more dynamic and flexible than its bigger rivals.