Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: SYMS is nation’s hottest retailer

August 2, 2010

FandECheck Out STORES Magazine’s 2010 Hot 100 Retailers list.

The top spot goes to off-price retailer SYMS, based in Secaucus, New Jersey. The chain, known for the slogan “An educated consumer is our best customer,” bought 20 Filene’s Basement locations last year, and now offers discount designer clothes for women and men. Other off-price chains who made the top 100 list include Citi Trends (#10), Ross Stores (#21) and TJ Maxx operator TJX (#29).

The annual list ranked the fastest-growing retail chains in the United States, based on increases in year-over-year domestic sales between 2008 and 2009. The list was compiled by Kantar Retail on behalf of STORES Media, which is the publishing and communications group of the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Coming in at No. 2 this year is the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market chain by Britain’s Tesco. The small-format grocer debuted in late 2007 and at the end of last year had 145 Fresh & Easy stores located in a few western states.

“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 Whitfeld, senior vice president of Kantar Retail in a statement. “But given the economic challenges of the past year, making this list regardless of size is quite an accomplishment.”

The No. 3 retailer was O’Reilly Automotive, which specializes in aftermarket auto parts. The company was able to capitalize on the economic downturn with more Americans looking to fix their cars rather than buy new ones. The retailer’s sales grew more than 35 percent from 2008 to 2009, STORES said.

Apparel chain rue21 landed the No. 4 spot, with a 34.3 percent increase and sales in 2009 and a 20 percent increase in its store count. Other teen apparel chains that made the top 10 include Aeropostale (#8) and The Buckle (#9).  

Remaining spots in the top 10 went to Verizon Wireless (#5), Amazon.com (#6) and Netflix (#7).

Also in the basket:

Hertz gets Canadian regulatory OK to buy Dollar Thrifty

Benihana reports Q1 sales above Street

Redefining Chicago’s Oak Street (WWD – subscription required)

Clinton’s Gown Spoke Beyond the Silence – New York Times

(Photo: Reuters)

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