Amazon sets the pace for growth in retail

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WASHINGTON — Whether they sell through brick-and-mortar stores, online or both, companies that provide unique offerings and experiences for consumers dominate the Hot 100 Retailers released by the National Retail Federation.

The list of fastest-growing retailers, compiled by research firm Kantar Retail, is based on sales growth in 2016 and ranks both public and privately held retailers by domestic sales, with a $300 million threshold for ­inclusion.

Topping the ranking was subscription meal kit company Blue Apron, which has delivered more than 150 million meals since it was founded five years ago and saw sales more than double to $795.4 million in 2016.

Second was online furniture and home decor seller Wayfair, where sales grew 54% to $2.9 billion as the e-tailer expanded its offerings to include greater price and quality ranges.

Coming in third was longtime traditional retailer Ascena Retail Group — parent company of Ann Taylor, Catherines, Dress Barn, Lane Bryant and Maurices — which has been aggressive with mergers and acquisitions in recent years and had 50% sales growth to $7 billion.

At No. 4 was online pet food seller with 48% growth to $900 million, followed in fifth place by online building supply company, which grew 38% to $911 million. No. 6 was convenience store operator CST Brands, up 29% to $2.1 billion, while seventh went to subscription fashion retailer JustFab, up 29% to $572 million.

At No. 8 was supermarket and department store chain Grupo Comercial Chedraui, up 27% to $1.5 billion; while ninth went to supermarket chain Gelson’s Markets, up 26% at $723 million; and No. 10 was online giant Inc., up 25% to $77 billion.

Online companies make up six of the top 10, but the majority of the Hot 100 are either traditional retailers or retailers that sell both in-store and online. Fewer than 10 are pure play e-commerce purveyors.

“This year’s Hot 100 confirms once again that retail growth is coming from a number of places, including less-traditional channels in the industry,” said Kantar Retail chief product strategy and marketing officer Andrew ­Stockwell.

Fourteen retailers were recognized as “sustained sizzlers” for having made the Hot 100 each year since its inception in 2006. The following list includes the sizzlers’ sales growth since 2011 as well as their 2017 ranking:
1. Amazon – 192% (10)
2. Aldi – 42% (40)
3. Dollar General Corp. – 48% (47)
4. Ross Stores Inc. – 49% (52)
5. O’Reilly Automotive – 48% (51)
6. Dick’s Sporting Goods – 52% (43)
7. Tractor Supply Co. – 60% (44)
8. Academy Sports + Outdoor – 156% (27)
9. Ulta – 160% (11)
10. Sprouts Farmers Market Inc. – 251% (30)
11. Casey’s General Stores – 67% (55)
12. Grocery Outlet – 197% (49)
13. Sephora – 44% (67)
14. Lululemon Athletica – 208% (38)



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