Business valuation consultancy Brand Finance recently released its annual rankings of apparel brands according to brand value, and Nike has retained its top spot with a value of $34.8 billion, a 7% increase over last year.

A strategy that works

Nike (NYSE:NKE) delivered an excellent third quarter report at the end of March just prior to the shutdown in the U.S. caused by the coronavirus. However, the numbers were lower than usual thanks to store closures in China. China is the company's fastest growing market, so those closures put the brakes on high growth, but the recent reopening spells some good fortune for Nike as it will have to absorb losses from store closures in the U.S. and other markets.

Man getting ready on a track.

Image source: Getty Images.

Many other apparel brands will have to deal with decreases or losses, but despite slowing growth, Nike is still on top. 

Outdoing its peers

Nike's value is almost double that of second-place Gucci, which moved up this year with a value of $17.6 billion. Adidas, Nike's biggest competition, slipped to third place with a value of $16.5 billion.

Levi's, the always-cool jeans company, is back in style and is the fastest growing brand on the list with an increase of 38% to $4.1 billion. Valentino and Gap saw the biggest declines on the list, both falling 39%. Rolex is tagged as having the strongest brand value, according to the Brand Strength Index.

The Brand Finance report suggests the retail sector in general could lose up to 20% of its value due to COVID-19. This decrease could affect several industries including restaurants, airlines, apparel, and auto parts, all of which are expected to fall in value.