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Hot 100 Retailers (2009)

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Rank Title Headquarters Revenue Previous Year Revenue Revenue Y/Y Change Earnings Previous Year Earnings Earnings Y/Y Change Units Previous Year Units Units y/y Change Comment
1 DineEquity Glendale, Calif. $1,613,628 $484,559 233% $-154,459 $-480 3400 3320 2.40%
2 American Apparel Los Angeles $382,382 $242,566 58% 260 182 42.90% U.S. wholesale segment excluded, includes international wholesale
3 Susser Holdings Corpus Christi, Texas $4,239,883 $2,717,362 56% $16,477 $16,252 1.4% 512 504 1.60%
4 A&P Montvale, N.J. $9,516,186 $6,401,130 49% $-139,881 $-160,680 436 447 -2.50%
5 Apple Stores/iTunes Cupertino, Calif. $9,655,000 $6,611,000 46% 247 197 25.40%
6 Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Atlanta $1,822,761 $1,263,717 44% $-479,741 $16,081 10386 3866 168.60%
7 O’Reilly Automotive Springfield, Mo. $3,576,553 $2,522,319 42% $186,232 $193,988 -4.0% 3285 1830 79.50%
8 Finlay Enterprises New York City $309,673 $223,805 38% 108 106 1.90% Specialty retail only, excludes concessions within department stores
9 The Pantry Sanford, N.C. $8,995,626 $6,911,163 30% $31,783 $26,732 18.9% 1653 1644 0.50%
10 Amazon.com Seattle $19,166,000 $14,835,000 29% $645,000 $476,000 35.5%
11 Buffalo Wild Wings Minneapolis $422,417 $329,652 28% $24,435 $19,654 24.3% 560 493 13.60%
12 The Buckle Kearney, Neb. $792,046 $619,888 28% $104,409 $75,247 38.8% 387 368 5.20%
13 Ruth’s Hospitality Group Heathrow, Fla. $405,785 $319,171 27% $-53,883 $18,146 152 118 28.80%
14 PriceSmart San Diego $1,119,876 $888,801 26% $38,106 $12,926 194.8% 25 23 8.70%
15 Travel Centers of America Westlake, Ohio $7,658,379 $6,166,157 24% $-40,201 $-123,356 233 236 -1.30%
16 GameStop Grapevine, Texas $8,805,897 $7,093,962 24% $398,282 $288,291 38.2% 6207 5264 17.90%
17 AT&T Wireless Atlanta $4,925,000 $4,006,000 23% 2200 2200 0.00%
18 Chipotle Mexican Grill Denver $1,331,968 $1,085,782 23% $78,202 $70,563 10.8% 837 704 18.90%
19 Panera Bread Richmond Heights, Mo. $1,298,853 $1,066,691 22% $67,436 $57,546 17.2% 1325 1230 7.70%
20 Urban Outfitters Philadelphia $1,834,618 $1,507,724 22% $199,364 $160,231 24.4% 294 245 20.00%
21 Whole Foods Market Austin, Texas $7,953,912 $6,591,773 21% $114,524 $182,740 -37.3% 275 276 -0.40%
22 Texas Roadhouse Louisville, Ky. $880,461 $735,089 20% $38,168 $39,325 -2.9% 314 285 10.20%
23 Lumber Liquidators Toano, Va. $482,179 $405,307 19% $22,149 $11,326 95.6% 150 116 29.30%
24 Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Bolingbrook, Ill. $1,084,646 $912,141 19% $25,268 $25,335 -0.3% 311 249 24.90%
25 Aéropostale New York City $1,885,531 $1,590,883 19% $149,422 $129,197 15.7% 914 828 10.40%
26 Valero San Antonio $10,528,000 $8,884,000 19% 1384 1414 -2.10% Retail operations only, excludes refining
27 BJ’s Restaurants Huntington Beach, Calif. $374,076 $316,095 18% $10,308 $11,705 -11.9% 82 70 17.10%
28 Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Hampstead, Md. $695,908 $604,010 15% $58,408 $50,168 16.4% 460 422 9.00%
29 Verizon Wireless Basking Ridge, N.J. $6,697,000 $5,866,000 14% 2500 2400 4.20%
30 Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Greenwood Village, Colorado $869,215 $763,472 14% $27,126 $30,651 -11.5% 423 384 10.20%
31 Ingles Markets Black Mountain, N.C. $3,238,047 $2,851,593 14% $52,123 $58,637 -11.1% 197 197 0.00%
32 Collective Brands Topeka, Kan. $3,442,000 $3,035,400 13% $-68,700 $42,700 4877 4892 -0.30%
33 Netflix Los Gatos, Calif. $1,364,661 $1,205,340 13% $83,026 $66,608 24.6%
34 Costco Issaquah, Wash. $72,483,020 $64,400,155 13% $1,282,725 $1,082,772 18.5% 544 518 5.00%
35 Delek US Holdings Brentwood, Tenn. $1,777,200 $1,579,600 13% 458 461 -0.70%
36 Best Buy Richfield, Minn. $45,015,000 $40,023,000 13% $1,003,000 $1,407,000 -28.7% 3942 1314 200.00%
37 VS Holdings North Bergen, N.J. $601,540 $537,872 12% $8,209 $6,795 20.8% 401 341 17.60%
38 Citi Trends Savannah, Ga. $488,202 $437,515 12% $17,383 $14,214 22.3% 357 319 11.90%
39 Famous Dave’s of America Minnetonka, Minn. $140,382 $125,873 12% $389 $6,070 -93.6% 170 164 3.70%
40 Spartan Stores Grand Rapids, Mich. $1,328,124 $1,192,523 11% 100 99 1.00% Retail segment only, excludes wholesale activities
41 Tractor Supply Co. Brentwood, Tenn. $3,007,949 $2,703,212 11% $81,930 $96,241 -14.9% 855 764 11.90%
42 BJ’s Wholesale Club Natick, Mass. $10,027,366 $9,014,465 11% $134,583 $122,861 9.5% 180 177 1.70%
43 hhgregg Indianapolis $1,396,678 $1,256,666 11% $36,497 $21,406 70.5% 110 91 20.90%
44 Charlotte Russe Holding San Diego, Calif. $823,252 $740,939 11% $18,165 $36,304 -50.0% 487 432 12.70%
45 Dell Global Consumer Round Rock, Texas $11,529,000 $10,378,000 11%
46 Harris Teeter Charlotte $3,664,804 $3,299,377 11% $96,752 $80,688 19.9% 176 164 7.30%
47 Staples Framingham, Mass. $14,153,851 $12,758,480 11% 2218 2038 8.80% Excludes North American Delivery operating segment
48 Starbucks Seattle $10,383,000 $9,411,497 10% $315,500 $672,638 -53.1% 16680 15011 11.10%
49 Dollar General Goodlettsville, Tenn. $10,457,668 $9,495,246 10% $108,182 $-12,816 8362 8194 2.10%
50 Gander Mountain St. Paul, Minn. $1,064,569 $969,403 10% $-15,497 $-31,814 116 113 2.70%
51 Walgreen Deerfield, Ill. $59,034,000 $53,762,000 10% $2,157,000 $2,041,300 5.7% 6934 5997 15.60%
52 P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Scottsdale, Ariz. $1,198,124 $1,092,722 10% $27,426 $32,063 -14.5% 350 318 10.10%
53 Dollar Tree Stores Chesapeake, Va. $4,644,900 $4,242,600 10% $229,500 $201,300 14.0% 3591 3411 5.30%
54 Systemax Port Washington, N.Y. $3,033,000 $2,779,900 9% $52,800 $69,500 -24.0% 29 26 11.50%
55 McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants Portland, Ore. $390,718 $358,647 9% $-69,611 $8,814 92 82 12.20%
56 Overstock.com Salt Lake City $834,367 $765,902 9% $-12,658 $-48,036
57 Darden Restaurants Orlando $7,217,500 $6,626,500 9% $372,200 $377,200 -1.3% 1773 1702 4.20%
58 Gymboree San Francisco $1,000,678 $920,814 9% $93,480 $80,331 16.4% 886 786 12.70%
59 CVS Caremark Woonsocket, R.I. $48,989,900 $45,086,500 9% 6981 6301 10.80% Excludes Pharmacy Services segment
60 Cabela’s Sidney, Neb. $2,552,721 $2,349,599 9% $76,404 $87,879 -13.1% 29 27 7.40%
61 99¢ Only Stores City of Commerce, Calif. $1,302,936 $1,199,374 9% $8,481 $2,893 193.2% 279 265 5.30%
62 Ross Stores Pleasanton, Calif. $6,486,139 $5,975,212 9% $305,441 $261,051 17.0% 956 890 7.40%
63 PetSmart Phoenix $5,065,293 $4,672,656 8% $192,670 $258,684 -25.5% 1112 1008 10.30%
64 Hibbett Sports Birmingham, Ala. $564,188 $520,720 8% $29,448 $30,329 -2.9% 745 688 8.30%
65 Yum! Brands Louisville, Ky. $11,279,000 $10,416,000 8% $964,000 $909,000 6.1% 36292 35345 2.70%
66 Kroger Cincinnati $76,000,000 $70,235,000 8% $1,249,000 $1,180,500 5.8% 3654 3662 -0.20%
67 Conn’s Beaumont, Texas $890,750 $824,128 8% $25,692 $39,686 -35.3% 75 69 8.70%
68 Rite Aid Camp Hill, Pa. $26,289,268 $24,326,846 8% $-2,915,420 $-1,078,990 4901 5029 -2.50%
69 Village Super Market Springfield, N.J. $1,127,762 $1,046,762 8% $22,543 $20,503 9.9% 25 23 8.70%
70 Wal-Mart Bentonville, Ark. $405,607,000 $378,476,000 7% $13,400,000 $12,731,000 5.3% 7873 7262 8.40%
71 Zumiez Everett, Wash. $408,669 $381,416 7% $17,204 $25,326 -32.1% 343 285 20.40%
72 EPL Intermediate Costa Mesa, Calif. $298,930 $279,025 7% $-39,481 $-4,034 413 389 6.20%
73 J.Crew Group New York City $1,427,970 $1,334,723 7% $54,117 $97,075 -44.3% 300 260 15.40%
74 California Pizza Kitchen Los Angeles $677,074 $632,884 7% $8,662 $14,784 -41.4% 252 231 9.10%
75 Delia’s New York City $215,620 $201,557 7% $17,159 $-2,335 97 86 12.80%
76 Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) Kent, Wash. $1,434,569 $1,342,024 7% $14,465 $41,427 -65.1% 105 96 9.40%
77 Liz Claiborne Direct Brands New York City $2,410,300 $2,257,874 7% 808 783 3.20%
78 General Nutrition Centers Pittsburgh $1,656,700 $1,552,800 7% $54,800 $-32,300 4918 4801 2.40%
79 Sally Beauty Holdings Denton, Texas $1,672,897 $1,569,088 7% 2844 2694 5.60% Sally Beauty Supply segment only
80 Papa John’s International Louisville, Ky. $1,132,087 $1,063,595 6% $36,796 $32,735 12.4% 3380 3208 5.40%
81 The Cheesecake Factory Calabasas Hills, Calif. $1,606,406 $1,511,577 6% $52,293 $73,964 -29.3% 159 152 4.60%
82 Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh $4,130,128 $3,888,422 6% $-35,094 $155,036 487 434 12.20%
83 Advance Auto Parts Roanoke, Va. $5,142,255 $4,844,404 6% $238,038 $238,317 -0.1% 3368 3261 3.30%
84 Delhaize America Salisbury, N.C. $19,239,000 $18,172,000 6% 1594 1570 1.50% U.S. operations only
85 AutoZone Memphis $6,522,706 $6,169,804 6% $641,606 $595,672 7.7% 4240 4056 4.50%
86 Duane Reade Holdings New York City $1,774,029 $1,686,752 5% $-72,778 $-87,780 251 242 3.70%
87 Neiman Marcus Group Dallas $4,600,536 $4,390,076 5% $142,813 $111,932 27.6% 71 65 9.20%
88 Hot Topic City of Industry, Calif. $761,074 $728,121 5% $19,742 $16,012 23.3% 840 841 -0.10%
89 Weis Markets Sunbury, Pa. $2,422,361 $2,318,551 5% $46,995 $50,990 -7.8% 184 186 -1.10%
90 Sonic Oklahoma City $804,713 $770,469 4% $60,319 $64,192 -6.0% 3475 3343 3.90%
91 Safeway Pleasanton, Calif. $44,104,000 $42,286,000 4% $965,300 $888,400 8.7% 1739 1743 -0.20%
92 Ahold USA(e) Chantilly, Va. $21,830,000 $20,996,000 4% 711 705 0.90% estimate
93 Publix Lakeland, Fla. $23,929,064 $23,016,568 4% $1,089,770 $1,183,925 -8.0% 1044 972 7.40%
94 CEC Entertainment Irving, Texas $814,509 $785,322 4% $56,494 $55,921 1.0% 541 534 1.30%
95 Burlington Coat Factory(p) Burlington, N.J. $3,542,000 $3,423,973 3% $48,970 433 397 9.10% projection
96 Genesco Nashville $1,551,562 $1,502,119 3% $152,636 $6,885 2116.9% 2234 2175 2.70%
97 McDonald’s Oak Brook, Ill. $23,522,400 $22,786,600 3% $4,313,200 $2,395,100 80.1% 31967 31377 1.90%
98 Luxottica Retail Cincinnati $4,549,459 $4,431,900 3% 6255 6407 -2.40%
99 Einstein Noah Restaurant Group Lakewood, Colo. $413,450 $402,902 3% $21,077 $12,586 67.5% 649 612 6.00%
100 Target Minneapolis $64,948,000 $63,367,000 3% $2,214,000 $2,849,000 -22.3% 1682 1591 5.70%

Hot retailers come in three general varieties: those that grow via acquisitions, those that open a lot of new stores and those that boost sales by increasing productivity in existing units.

Seven of the first 10 companies in STORES’ annual Hot 100 Retailers chart fall into the growth-by-acquisition category, including chart-topper DineEquity. It ranked third on last year’s Hot 100 Retailers chart when it was still known as IHOP, benefiting from a few months of combined sales after acquiring the much larger Applebee’s. As planned, company-owned Applebee’s locations are being sold off to franchisees to raise cash to pay down debt and to make the Applebee’s chain similar in operation to IHOP. With a full year as a merged entity, sales have more than tripled even as restaurants have been one of the more depressed segments of the economy.

A similar story applies to Wendy’s/Arby’s. Wendy’s was wobbling and looking to be sold last fall when financier Norman Peltz cobbled together a deal in which Arby’s parent Triarc spent about $2 billion to take over Wendy’s. By the time the fiscal year was over, it was the Arby’s chain that was a drag on earnings, as Wendy’s showed surprising strength with its value menu.

Susser Holdings benefited from its 2007 purchase of 168 Town & Country Food Stores and Village Market grocery stores in west Texas and eastern New Mexico, for which it paid $356 million. Susser’s 348 other c-stores carry the Stripes brand and its fuel centers fly a number of different banners, though about two-thirds use Valero.

Supermarket operators have rarely ranked very high in the four years of the Hot 100, but A&P is there this year by virtue of its purchase of Pathmark Stores, another New Jersey-based grocer. The combined company closed some redundant and underperforming locations and posted a $140 million loss for the year. Core A&P units performed well, but the Pathmark locations and price-impact Food Basics units were a drag on earnings.

O’Reilly Automotive took a major step toward becoming a national player with its acquisition of CSK stores. Springfield, Mo.-based O’Reilly recently announced it would build a new distribution center in Colorado to supplement support for stores in 11 western states where it previously had no presence. Of the 1,342 stores it acquired, O’Reilly has either consolidated or closed 41 of the former CSK units and is hanging the O’Reilly nameplate on the rest, a transformation scheduled to be completed by 2011.

Ordinarily, a retailer posting same-store sales declines of 11 percent in a year when gross margin decreased 6.2 percent would not be anywhere near the top of the Hot 100 Retailers chart, but then Finlay Enterprises is not a conventional operator. Total company sales were $754.8 million in 2008, up 5.2 percent from the previous year. The majority of those sales were in leased departments at stores operated by Macy’s, The Bon-Ton Stores, Gottschalks and Lord & Taylor.

Licensed jewelry department sales are not included in Hot 100 Retailer compilations, but Finlay also operates 108 freestanding specialty jewelry stores under the Bailey Banks & Biddle, Carlyle and Congress flags. So with its retail sales in department stores removed from the equation, Finlay’s specialty stores showed a sales increase of 38.4 percent, earning it the No. 8 position on the Hot 100 Retailers list.

The Pantry, which describes itself as “the leading independently operated convenience store chain” in the Southeast, continues to grow in bits and pieces, usually by buying out smaller companies with a few dozen locations. Typical of The Pantry’s modus operandi, the company recently closed a deal to buy 38 c-stores from Herndon Oil. The locations, which generate annual revenues of about $152 million, are clustered in the Mobile, Ala., area but extend along the Gulf Coast to Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.

Ongoing changes to the qualifications for Hot 100 consideration have impacted the rankings – and in some cases, led to the exclusion – of a number of companies. In addition to being publicly traded, Hot 100 Retailers:

• Must generate at least $300 million a year in total revenues, up from $100 million the past three years.

• Can be subsidiaries or divisions of publicly-held companies engaged in telecommunications, consumer electronics, paint or apparel. Vitamin and dietary supplement manufacturers with retail outlets appear on the chart as integrated operations represented by total revenues.

• Can be U.S. subsidiaries of a publicly-held overseas company, like Ahold USA (Stop & Shop, Giant Food), Delhaize America (Food Lion, Bloom, Sweetbay) or Delek US Holdings, which sells fuel and operates c-stores.

The Hot 100 rankings exclude wholesale, distribution or contract sales revenues. As a result, office supply superstores like Staples are included only by retail sales, as are apparel retailer American Apparel and grocer Spartan Stores. Hot 100 Retailers can have sales to small businesses, contractors and professionals included in retail sales as long as these sales are not made by a separate division or subsidiary.

American Apparel and Apple Stores/iTunes are Hot 100 Retailers that have grown revenues, in part, by opening new stores — no mean feat considering consumer attitudes and spending habits over the past few years. There is no questioning No. 2 American Apparel’s appeal to its core audience.

“I think we’ve struck a chord in American culture,” says company founder Dov Charney, who started the business in 1997 and didn’t open his first branded store until 2004. The company went public in 2006; Charney didn’t buy or sell a share of company stock until this past March, when a $2.67 million purchase sparked a buying frenzy of APP shares.

Where American Apparel is a small-but-growing company, Apple Stores/ iTunes is part of a deep-pocketed company with blue-chip Wall Street credentials. With its iPhone generating 15 percent of the parent company’s profits, there is plenty of money available to grow the number of retail outlets and not worry about cannibalizing sales at former retail partners’ stores.

Apple opened 50 stores in 2008, 19 of them overseas. Not all the units are expected to churn out sales of electronics and related merchandise: the company says 11 of its 247 stores are “designed and built to serve as high-profile venues to promote brand awareness and serve as vehicles for corporate sales and marketing activities.”

Apple will be slowing its expansion to about 25 stores this year, though another 100 units are slated for remodeling projects.

Rounding out the Top 10 is Amazon.com, the trailblazer that remains the Gold Standard in e-commerce retailing. Not that all of its revenues are directly from retail sales: the company’s website acts as a virtual mall, where it is the “landlord” for other retailers, many of whom don’t have the resources to develop and operate their own e-commerce sites. Amazon also has a side business that provides website developers with access to its technology infrastructure, which they can use to enable virtually any type of business.

These peripheral businesses generated $542 million, or 2.8 percent of Amazon’s revenues last year, an increase of 41.5 percent over the previous year. In contrast, Amazon.com’s retailing revenues grew 28.9 percent last year.

Thirty-nine companies on the Hot 100 Retailers list also appeared in last month’s rankings of the Top 100 Retailers – the greatest amount of overlap in the four years STORES has been generating the Hot 100. Additionally, 24 companies have posted four consecutive years of chart-worthy growth.

Many of them operate in unique or contracting niches, including GameStop, which owns the video game segment; Amazon, which virtually invented online retailing and continues to define it; Urban Outfitters, which operates with little direct competition in its corner of the apparel segment; and Whole Foods Market, which popularized natural and organic groceries.

Mass merchants Wal-Mart and Costco have been on every Hot 100 Retailers list, as have companies as diverse as Walgreen, Best Buy, O’Reilly and Tractor Supply. A number of retailers missed the cut for the first time this year, including The Children’s Place, whose sales figures plummeted after shedding The Disney Stores, and Coldwater Creek, which paid the price for expanding rapidly in a retailing environment that was spiraling downward.