The National Retail Federation’s annual Top 100 Retailers list ranks retailers based on U.S. sales. Walmart remains in the leading spot, followed by Amazon, Costco Wholesale and The Home Depot. This series takes a look at power players in each retail category.
Mass retailers, whose product mix includes apparel, had a rough 2020, but rebounded in 2021. Stores like Walmart and Target were able to do some “intelligent reorganizing of their stores to do what felt like a remodel,” says David Marcotte, senior vice president at Kantar, “but in reality was more of a rearranging of space.”
On the food side, supply chain issues have been brutal. That’s led some smaller players like Bashas and Tops to enter mergers. In 2021, Tops Markets joined forces with Price Chopper/Market 32, and The Raley’s Companies completed its acquisition of The Bashas’ Company. They simply couldn’t compete with the larger chains alone, Marcotte says.
NRF's Top 100 Retailers ranks the industry’s largest companies according to sales.
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“Everything said and done, though, for as hard a year as it was, grocery did very well in terms of financials,” he says. They saw not only increases in sales, but also significant increases in operating margin. Power players in grocery include The Kroger Co., Albertsons Companies, Royal Ahold Delhaize USA, Publix Super Markets, Aldi and others.
As for the drug store category — it’s been a tough few years, for a variety of reasons.
“During the pandemic, people didn’t want to go to drug stores, because they didn’t want to go somewhere where people were sick,” Marcotte says. Plus, drug stores were hit as hard as other retailers by supply chain problems. “And they were impacted, perhaps more than anybody else, by labor shortages, particularly in pharmacy.”
He believes drug stores in general will continue to have issues with the number of locations and labor. It’s one thing to be short a cashier, he says, but something altogether different to be short a pharmacist. Walgreens Boots Alliance is at No. 6 on the 2022 NRF Top 100 Retailers list, with 3.5 percent U.S. sales growth. CVS Health Corporation is at No. 8, just behind Target; it showed 4.4 percent U.S. sales growth in 2021.
View the complete 2022 Top 100 Retailers list or explore more about retail's biggest power players.