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Emerging Markets Fuel Fastest 50

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Retail revenue for the 50 fastest-growing retailers increased at a compound annual rate of 22 percent between 2006 and 2011. In 2011, composite retail revenue for the Fastest 50 rose nearly 20 percent year-over-year. In both cases, growth was nearly four times faster than that for the Top 250 as a whole. The Fastest 50 did not sacrifice margin for sales; the group’s composite net profit margin of 8.4 percent was more than double the Top 250’s 3.8 percent.

While the Fastest 50 is based on revenue growth over a five-year period, most of the retailers on the list maintained their aggressive growth in 2011. Indeed, 32 of the Fastest 50 were also among the 50 fastest-growing retailers in 2011. Companies in this elite group are designated in bold type on the list.

Chinese and Russian retailers are well-represented among the Fastest 50, as are retailers from Africa/Middle East and Latin America. Seven of 11 Top 250 retailers based in China (including Hong Kong) are among the Fastest 50, as are all three of the Russian companies.

Six of seven Top 250 retailers headquartered in the Africa/Middle East region also are on the list. So, too, are seven of 11 from South America and Mexico. Six of the Fastest 50 were newcomers to the Top 250 in 2011: 

• Wu-Mart, a Chinese operator of hypermarkets and convenience stores (growth rank No. 4)

• Belle International, the number one women’s shoe retailer in China (No. 6) • Lulu Group International, the retail division of Emke Group based in the UAE, operating hypermarkets, supermarkets and department stores across the Middle East (No. 9)

• Company M.Video, one of Russia’s biggest consumer electronics retail chains (No. 12)

• Landmark Group, another Middle Eastern retailer with a portfolio of fashion and home brands (No. 16)

• Coppel, a highly profitable Mexican department store retailer (No. 35) Altogether, emerging markets accounted for almost half (23) of the 50 fastest-growing companies and nearly two-thirds (20) of the “elite 32.”