Sustained Sizzle 2016

This article was published in the August 2016 issue of STORES Magazine.

The solid six return for another appearance as Sustained Sizzlers, so hot they have appeared on the Hot 100 list every year since its inception a decade ago. Employing a combination of strategic acquisitions and organic growth, these retailers have a keen sense of what their customers want.

Dollar Tree, the second-hottest retailer on the Hot 100 chart, maintains its sizzling status as a result of its takeover of Family Dollar Stores. Tractor Supply Co., which used its purchase of Del’s Farm and Feed stores more than a decade ago to expand into the Pacific Northwest, recently completed the conversion of all stores to the TSC banner.

2016 Hot 100 Retailer Highlights from NRF on SlideShare
Tractor Supply Co. ranks No. 56 on this year’s Hot 100 chart.

Tractor Supply Co. ranks No. 56 on this year’s Hot 100 chart. boosted its retail revenues when it acquired online shoe seller Zappos; it accounts for a third of all North American e-commerce transactions, according to 360pi.

Ross Stores’ string of annual sales increases was driven “by the competitive values we offered on a wide assortment of name brand bargains and gifts throughout our stores,” says CEO Barbara Rentler. The company operates Ross Dress for Less stores, which offer name brand and designer apparel, accessories, footwear and home fashions, as well as the much smaller dd’s Discounts chain featuring a more moderately priced assortment of quality, in-season name brand merchandise. The company plans on opening nearly 100 new locations this year.

Through the first three months of 2016, O’Reilly Automotive enjoyed 10 consecutive quarters of comparable store sales growth greater than 5 percent. “From a macroeconomic standpoint, we continue to benefit from positive tailwinds from modest improvements in employment and low gas prices, and miles driven are off to a solid start thus far in 2016,” says Greg Henslee, O’Reilly’s president and CEO. The company has also had seven straight years of 20 percent or greater annual growth in diluted earnings per share.

Dick’s Sporting Goods, which sells as much apparel as it does sports equipment, may be entering a bumpy stretch now that management has lowered its expectations for the fiscal year ending January 2017. This is in part due to the going-out-of-business sales at bankrupt Sports Authority locations sopping up a lot of consumer dollars in the sporting goods sector.

Gander Mountain Co. dropped 21 places to No. 66 this year.

Gander Mountain Co. dropped 21 places to No. 66 this year.

It’s not all gloomy, however; Wall Street analysts tracked by the Case Western Reserve University Observer estimate Dick’s will maintain an annual growth rate of about 10.2 percent over the next five years, which, if achieved, would likely keep it among the Hot 100 retailers for years to come.

Also providing some upside opportunities for the chain are the hunting and golf categories, which combined account for nearly 30 percent of sales and could “stabilize or return to growth after weighing on trends for some time,” says Brian Nagle, analyst with Oppenheimer & Co.