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SYMS, Fresh & Easy, rue21 Among Nationís Hottest Retailers, According to STORES Magazine

For Immediate Release
Kathy Grannis (202)783-7971 or grannisk@nrf.com 

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SYMS, Fresh & Easy, rue21 Among Nation’s Hottest Retailers, According to STORES Magazine

-Sixteen Retailers Make List for Fifth Consecutive Year-

Washington, August 3, 2010 – As American families invested in off-price, discount, online and even after-market merchandise throughout 2009, certain retailers were the beneficiaries of consumers’ lifestyle changes.  According to the STORES’ 2010 Hot 100 Retailers list, published in the August issue of STORES magazine, many of the top 10 retailers this year were able to grow because of the economy, not despite it. The annual list highlights retail companies that reported the greatest increase in domestic sales between 2008 and 2009. All public and private companies with more than $300 million in sales were eligible for the list, which was compiled by Kantar Retail.*

“The changing retail landscape has undoubtedly opened up doors for some retailers who may not have been top of mind a few years back,” said Susan Reda, Editor, STORES Media. “The importance of brand recognition has never been more relevant, but consumer demand for value has never been more prevalent. The list this year celebrates those retailers that performed well because of the hard times and those that continue to do well despite them.” 

Topping the list this year is SYMS, the Secaucus, N.J.-based, off-price menswear company. In 2009, SYMS bought 20 Filene’s Basement locations and now offers discount designer men’s and women’s attire.  Citi Trends (#10), Ross Stores (#21) and TJX (#29) are among other off-price retailers who also made the list this year. 

Coming in at No. 2 this year is Tesco’s Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market (#2).Though only located in a few western states, Fresh & Easy has managed to stay relatively true to the aggressive expansion plans it put in place prior to the economic downturn. They company had a total of 145 open at the end of last year, with the number of units growing 26 percent. 

With more Americans looking to fix their vehicles than fork over cash for a new one, O’Reilly Automotive (#3), which specializes in aftermarket auto parts, capitalized on the downturn and won over a barrage of new clientele in 2009. O’Reilly’s sales grew more than 35 percent from 2008 to 2009. 

With 2009 sales increasing an impressive 34.3 percent from 2008, it’s no surprise that rue21, which offers teens and adults the latest fashions at a low price, landed the No. 4 spot this year. The company boosted its store count last year by 20 percent and has plans to open another 100 stores in 2010. Two other teen retailers also landed in the top 10 this year – Aéropostale (#8) and The Buckle (#9).

Verizon Wireless (#5), Amazon.com (#6) Netflix (#7) also join the top ranks this year and round out the top 10.

“It’s not unusual to see smaller retailers atop lists of fast-growing companies because generating growth off a small base can be relatively easy for an appealing concept,” said Mary Brett Whitfield, Senior Vice President, Kantar Retail. “But given the economic challenges of the past year, making this list regardless of size is quite an accomplishment.”

Sustained Sizzle – 16 Retailers Make List Five Consecutive Years 

Creating a list that honors the fastest-growing companies is a feat in itself; making that list five years in a row, two of which ventured into unprecedented economic territory, deserves a designation all of its own. 

The following retailers have each made the STORES Hot 100 list since its inception in 2006 (listed below in order of average annual growth, with 2010 ranking in parenthesis):
 

·         Amazon.com (#6)

·         CVS Caremark (#11)

·         O’Reilly Automotive (#3)

·         Aeropostale (#8)

·         Urban Outfitters (#73)

·         Dick’s Sporting Goods (#38)

·         Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (#22)

·         Dress Barn (#83)

·         J.Crew Group (#20)

·         Tractor Supply Co. (#40)

·         Best Buy (#43)

·         Ross Stores (#21)

·         Walgreens (#35)

·         Dollar Tree Stores (#15)

·         Cabela’s (#90)

·         PetSmart (#57) 


Fastest-Growing Restaurants 

The fastest-growing American restaurants were separately recognized this year. While many families have traded in restaurant dining for meals at home, others simply opted for less expensive options when dining out, which is witnessed in the top 15 listed below (ranked by year-over-year change from 2008): 
 

1.     NPC International (owner of 1,149 Pizza Hut franchises)

2.     Buffalo Wild Wings

3.     BJ’s Restaurants

4.     Chipotle Mexican Grill

5.     Burger King Corp.

6.     Tim Hortons

7.     Texas Roadhouse

8.     Panera Bread Co.

9.     McDonald’s

10.  Steak ‘n Shake

11.  Benihana

12.  P.F. Chang’s China Bistro

13.  Subway

14.  DineEquity

15.  CEC Entertainment (Chuck E. Cheese)  

About the Survey  

The Hot 100 Retailers list is the definitive annual ranking of the fastest-growing public and private retail chains in the U.S. Rankings are determined by increases in year-over-year domestic sales between 2008 and 2009. STORES Hot 100 list was sponsored by Oracle Retail, QlikView, RedPrairie and Tomax Retail.net.

Kantar Retail (www.kantarretail.com) is a global retail insights and consulting business that works with clients to transform the behavior of shoppers and retailers. Kantar Retail serves the world’s leading retailers and manufacturers and has offices in 15 markets around the globe. By combining the resources of Cannondale, Glendinning, MVI and Retail Forward, the company solves client issues from tactical to strategic. Kantar Retail is headquartered in London and is part of the Kantar Group of WPP.

STORES Media is the publishing and communications group of the National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest retail trade association. STORES Media offerings include STORES Magazine, STORES.org, STORES Knowledge Series, STORES First Edition and STORES Retail Deals. 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, online retailing, communications, marketing, merchandising and other vital store operations.   

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*Hot 100 rankings are not directly comparable to previous years as the methods of calculation have changed. The biggest change to the methodology included opening the field to privately-held companies and changing measurement from year-over-year increases in revenues to change in domestic sales.