Top 20 Most Admired Companies

To create the top 20, Fortune and its survey partners at Hay Group asked the experts -- in this case, more than 3,700 people from dozens of industries -- to select the 10 companies they admire most. This year's winners all have strong records of innovation, leadership, and financial strength -- and their employees know it.

Nordstrom
Nordstrom
Top 20 rank: 20
Rank in General Merchandisers: 1
Nordstrom's customer service is legendary. But until recently the $8.5 billion retailer had been less of a standout in the trendsetting department. That's changed since Nordstrom purchased a majority stake in Jeffrey, which operates luxury boutiques in Manhattan and Atlanta.

Founder Jeffrey Kalinsky, who signed on to be director of designer merchandising, is quietly making Nordstrom a force in upscale fashion. Kalinsky has the full support of the Nordstrom brothers -- Blake, Peter, and Erik -- who serve as president, head of merchandising, and director of stores, respectively.

Nordstrom plans to open eight stores in 2008, more than double the new-store count of recent years. One caveat is the economy. Nordstrom's sales took a hit in the all-important fourth quarter, and the company expects further declines in early 2008.  -Suzanne Kapner
See how Nordstrom rates in 8 key areas
Last updated March 03 2008: 2:10 PM ET

Apple

Berkshire Hathaway

General Electric

Google

Toyota Motor

Starbucks

FedEx

Procter & Gamble

Johnson & Johnson

Goldman Sachs

Target

Southwest Airlines

American Express

BMW

Costco

Microsoft

UPS

Cisco Systems

3M

Nordstrom
Most admired: Full list See how 317 top companies rate in 8 key areas. (more)
Most admired in your state California is home to the most corporations on this year's list. See the top-rated firms near you. (more)
Game: How admirable are you? Can you match each quote to the Most Admired company it refers to? See how admirably you score. (more)