Tesco is the retailer most likely to survive the economic downturn, a new report claims.

Compiled by accountants BDO Stoy Hayward and Verdict Research, the report said that surviving a potential recession is about more than “blind cost cutting”.

It said the only way retailers will increase their sales is to “excel in every way” as annual consumer spending in retail is expected to fall£19.4 billion by 2010.

Tesco topped the Survivability Index, followed by online clothing retailer Boden and Selfridges in third place. Other retailers in the top 10 include Sainsbury’s, John Lewis and shirt retailer TM Lewin. The research is based on factors including branding, cost management, internet potential and customer targeting.

BDO Stoy Hayward head of retail Rupert Eastell said he was concerned by how many retailers “were not particularly adept at proactively selling in a slowdown”.

He said: “Today’s consumers certainly do not need to buy much more, so the task for retailers is to inspire people to want things. Those who implement strategies to react appropriately to changing circumstances will be the ones who emerge in the strongest position from the current difficulties.”

Verdict consulting director Neil Saunders said: “We are now entering the most challenging period many retailers will have ever faced. Being good will no longer be good enough to generate growth – retailers that want to increase their sales will have to excel in every way.”