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Food retailers dominate STORES 2016 Hot 100 Retailers list

Supermarkets dominate the list of Hot 100 Retailers published today by the National Retail Federation’s STORES magazine, reflecting a trend of grocers moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach and adopting new practices that focus more on their brands and shoppers.

“The supermarket segment is a model of the dynamic changes in retail. It represents a fast-changing marketplace where legacy banners are reinventing, smaller footprint operators are gaining share and online initiatives from Amazon Prime and subscription services like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron are sneaking a few bites of food from the plate,” STORES Media Editor Susan Reda said.

“Not to be underestimated is the dollar store segment’s quest for a greater share of shoppers’ food budgets. These companies make a compelling bid for the value-oriented shopper with national brand name product offerings, convenience and an improved in-store experience,” Reda said.                       

"The supermarket segment is a model of the dynamic changes in retail."

Susan Reda
STORES Media Editor

Nearly a quarter of companies on the list compiled by Kantar Retail are food retailers, including two in the top five and well-known names such as Publix, Aldi and Whole Foods. The magazine said supermarkets are the retail industry’s hottest companies almost by default since consumers continue to buy groceries even as more discretionary spending is directed away from merchandise and toward services and entertainment.

The Hot 100 list, which is published in the August issue of STORES, is based on sales growth in 2015 over 2014 and ranks both public and privately held retail companies by U.S. domestic sales with a $300 million threshold for inclusion. On average, companies on the list saw growth of 14.7 percent, up from 13.2 percent the year before. The Hot 100 is sponsored by Apex Supply Chain Technologies, Esri, Island Pacific and MagTek.

Topping the list was Haggen, a 30-store Pacific Northwest grocer based in Bellingham, Wash., that grew into a sizeable West Coast chain only to shrink again after complications in its rapid expansion led to bankruptcy. Haggen’s sales grew a dramatic 325 percent to $2 billion in 2015 after the company bought 146 stores that became available when Albertsons acquired Safeway in 2014. But Haggen filed bankruptcy in 2015, saying “a number of Albertsons’ actions” caused the plan to fail. This year, 29 Haggen stores were purchased by Albertsons.

Second on the list was discount variety store Dollar Tree, which moved up from No. 57 on last year’s list after sales grew 138 percent to $19.9 billion following its 2014 takeover of Family Dollar. On the list for the first time at No. 3 was convenience store operator GPM Investments with 119 percent sales growth to $535 million, followed by No. 4 Minyard Food Stores, which saw sales grow 108 percent to $324 million. No. 5 was TV shopping channel Evine Live, which grew 100 percent to $693 million.

The Top 10 also includes No. 6 Torrid, up 100 percent at $410 million; No. 7 Wayfair, up 88 percent at $1.9 billion; No. 8 Bluestem Brands, up 61 percent at $1.7 billion; No. 9 Verizon Wireless, up 54 percent at $16.9 billion, and H&M, up 48 percent at $3.9 billion.

Three of the 10 companies on the list this year have no bricks-and-mortar stores, including Bluestem, Evine Live and Wayfair.

“The themes we see highlighted this year – consolidation, specialization and digitization – are all important ones for all retailers, irrespective of size,” Kantar Retail Chief Knowledge Officer Bryan Gildenberg said.  “Seven of the top 10 grew through significant acquisition, to gain scale and market scope in this dynamic, changing environment.  At the same time, brands like Torrid, H&M and Wayfair have done a wonderful job of understanding their target consumer – helping their customers to be the best version of their specific, distinctive selves,” Gildenberg said.

Fastest-Growing Restaurants
Separately from its Hot 100 Retailers List, STORES examined the fastest-growing quick-service restaurant chains in the country. The top 10 in order of increased market share are Jimmy John’s, Burger King, Starbucks, Domino’s Pizza, Long John Silver’s, Zaxby’s, Bojangles’, Jersey Mike’s Subs, White Castle and WingStop.

About Kantar Retail
Kantar Retail is a leading retail and shopper insight, consulting and analytics and technology business and part of Kantar, the data investment management division of WPP. It works with leading brand manufacturers and retailers to help them sell more effectively and profitably. Kantar Retail tracks and forecasts over 1,200 retailers globally and has purchase data on over 200 million shoppers. Among its market-leading reports are the annual PoweRanking survey and the Digital Power Study. Kantar Retail works with over 400 clients and has 26 offices in 15 markets around the globe.  For further information, please visit www.kantarretail.com, or find it on Twitter and LinkedIn.

STORES Media is the publishing group of the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association. STORES Media offerings include STORES Magazine (print, digital and mobile versions) and STORES Weekly. STORES products report on the broad spectrum of strategic issues facing senior retail executives including retail technology, supply chain and logistics, credit and payment systems, loss prevention, human resources, omnichannel retailing, communications, marketing, merchandising and other vital store operations.


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