Posts Tagged ‘national retail federation’

Fastest growing retailers

Posted on: August 11th, 2014 by

Whole Foods MarketFollowing the recession, retailers are growing once again and, increasingly, moving online. In the first quarter of 2014, retail sales were 2.4% higher than the same time the year before, largely helped by a 15% jump in e-commerce sales. Online retail is increasingly accounting for more and more of America’s shopping.

Yet not all retailers have adapted to a market where many Americans have less disposable income, and are increasingly choosing to shop online. Other companies, in turn, have become enormously successful by embracing these changes. Based on figures from the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) STORES magazine, compiled by Kantar Retail, 24/7 Wall St. identified America’s Fastest-Growing Retailers.

In 2013,’s U.S. sales rose by 27%, the most of any retailer. For some retailers, such as Tractor Supply Co., part of its continued growth comes from the fact that they sell products simply cannot, such as farm equipment and livestock.

Many other retailers have also moved online, embracing a more-targeted approach in order to set themselves apart from the competition. Bryan Gildenberg, chief knowledge officer at Kantar Retail, told 24/7 Wall St. that this kind of personalized approach, “makes buying much more enjoyable and finding what you want much quicker.”

Some retailers have benefited from the financial struggles facing many Americans. This includes Family Dollar, which targets low income shoppers and had 11% growth in sales in 2013. Others, such as Sherwin Williams, have benefited from more positive developments in the economy. An improving housing market helped the company’s sales rise by 18% last year.

And while many growing retailers are deeply impacted by changes in the economy, others are benefiting from evolving customer tastes. Both Whole Foods and Apple are among the fastest-growing retailers in America, and both have very strong brands aligned with changing consumer spending. Whole Foods’ commitment to organic food and Apple’s exceptional mobile product quality both resonate strongly with customers, who are often willing to pay more for these items.

While many of the fastest-growing retailers have different customers and products, they also have a great deal in common. Gildenberg noted that many retailers aimed “most of [their] energy at the middle of the market.” However, he added that, recently, growth has generally been stronger among companies that target a specific segment of the population.

For example, he noted that Whole Foods and Family Dollar are much more similar than they might look at first glance. “They both target segments of the population that general mass retail, for whatever reason, doesn’t serve as well.”

The addition of new stores can also play an important role in driving sales growth. Excluding Amazon, which is exclusively online, all but one of the fastest-growing retailers increased their U.S. store count in 2013. The one retailer that did not do so, AT&T, has heavily invested in new store designs and has opened or renovated a number of locations. Gildenberg noted that store growth is currently quite strong among more specialized retailers with unique store concepts.

To identify America’s 10 fastest-growing retailers, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed STORES’ Top 100 Retailers report. The report is based on Kantar Retail’s estimates for companies’ retail-only sales, and includes the 100 largest companies by this measure, as well as their estimated number of stores. The companies on our list had the largest percentage gains in U.S. retail sales between 2012 and 2013. Sales figures listed do not include third-party sales. We also excluded Albertson’s and Ascena Retail Group from our list. These companies had retail revenue gains that were largely driven by transformative mergers and acquisitions.

Back To School Shopping

Posted on: August 18th, 2010 by

Child's Education - Financial Planning - Rockville, MDBack-to-school shopping usually consists of running out at the last minute and going to one store to try to get everything.  If you do a little planning and put in a little extra effort, you will find yourself saving quite a bit.  In other words, it pays to shop around.

Families surveyed by The National Retail Federation expect to spend an average of $96 per child on school supplies, and more than $600 when clothing, shoes and electronics are included.  These numbers, however, do not include the additional items many schools are adding to their back to school lists this year such as dry erase markers, toilet paper, tissues, and anti-bacterial wipes.  School budget cuts have left the burden of the extras up to the parents.  This is estimated to drive the estimated $96 per child up to about $104 per child.

A few morning show segments this week have featured the cost comparisons of 20 items typically found on a school supply list, which inspired me to look into costs and may prove to be quite helpful.  Comparing apples to apples in terms of quality, I priced major brand names: Crayola crayons, markers and colored pencils; Five Star notebooks, Avery Binders; Pilot G2 gel pens; Oxford folders; Texas Instruments TI-30 calculator.  For more generic items such as rulers, protractors, index cards and loose leaf paper, the lowest price was focused on.  Note: the items chosen were plain solid colors on everything — no patterns or designs.

The results were pretty dramatic:  The same 20 items on my list cost $27.20 at an independent discount store, and three times as much, $83.44, at CVS.  Big-box stores Target and Wal-Mart came in at $31.64 and $36.70, and Staples charged $66.72.

Both the independent and chain dollar stores (Family Dollar, Dollar General and Dollar Tree) have grown aggressively in the last decade, adding thousands of stores nationwide between 2001 and mid-2009, according to a study by The Nielsen Company.  “There’s no question that the dollar stores are getting more and more shoppers every day,” says Britt Beemer, CEO of America’s Research Group.  “When they added more food products to the stores, they really established value with consumers.  They sell bread for $1 a loaf, and at the grocery store it’s $1.89 or $2.59.  The dollar stores make a stronger value proposition as they added grocery, because people know the value of things they buy most often.  Because they attract so many shoppers every week, manufacturers can no longer ignore the channel.”

For school supplies, you should definitely visit dollar stores first and then wait as far until the end of the season as you can for other stores so the items will be marked down as much as possible.  The other nice advantage to dollar stores is that if you have a child like I was that like the colorful patterns and designs, you can generally find those there as well and for only $1.