While many would expect Amazon to land in the No. 1 spot of any retail ranking (and it does), some of the other brands in the National Retail Federation’s “Hot 100” are more surprising.
This year’s list, published in the NRF’s Stores Magazine, names Aldi, the limited-assortment grocery chain, No. 2 on its annual “Sustained Sizzle” list. That elite group of 14 retailers has ranked among the fastest-growing retailers for the last 14 years. Dollar General, Ross Stores, O’Reilly Automotive, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Tractor Supply Co., Academy Sports + Outdoor, Ulta Salon and Sprouts Farmers Market are all in the top 10.
Besides ranking the cumulative gains in the “Sustained Sizzler” group, the Washington D.C.-based trade association also ranks retailers that are growing fastest, based on 2016 sales. The rankings are compiled by Kantar Retailer, which looks at all retailers, public and private, with annual revenues of more than $300 million.
Online retailers dominate that list, with Blue Apron, the meal-kit delivery company, ranking No. 1. (For proof of how fast fate can change for retailers, while Blue Apron grabbed the NRF’s top honors based on its $795.4 million in 2016 revenues, which represent a133% gain from the prior year, it is currently being dissed by many observers as 2017’s most disappointing IPO, already shaking up its management team and slashing jobs as it struggles to maintain growth.)
Wayfair comes in at the No. 2 spot, followed by Ascena Retail Group, parent of retail brands that include Ann Taylor, Catherines, Dress Barn, and Lane Bryant, Chewy.com, the online pet food retailer, Build.com/Wolseley, which sells building supplies online, round out the top 5.
This year’s winners “confirm once again that retail growth is coming from a number of places, including less traditional channels in the industry,” says Andrew Stockwell, Kantar’s chief product strategy and marketing officer, in a release announcing the winners. “While a tremendous amount of volume is still generated from big boxes, retail channels such as online, discount, club, drug and convenience are powering accelerated growth.”