Hot convenience and department stores growing at fastest rate


Though the retail industry grew 6.4% as a whole last year, a handful of fiery companies served as the pace car for others to follow. The Hot 100 Retailers list, to be unveiled in the August issue of STORES magazine, highlights the retail companies that reported the greatest year-over-year revenue percentage growth. All public companies with more than 100 million in sales were eligible for the list, which provides a definitive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing retailers.

According to the list, the convenience store group experienced the highest growth last year with a 21.9% boost in sales. The department store sector continued its resurgence with 21.5% growth.
While all but four of the Hot 100 Retailers saw double-digit sales increases in 2006, a handful of companies stood out from the pack. Many of the Hot 100 Retailers grew through acquisitions. The Bon-Ton Stores (#1), which was once an overlooked regional department store chain, tops the list this year with a revenue increase of 164.3%, due largely to its acquisition of what was once Saks’ northern department store division. GameStop (#2)—in second place this year after topping the inaugural Hot 100 list—can also trace its 72% growth to an acquisition, the 2005 purchase of EB Games. The company opened its 1,000th international store in June and has continuing momentum due to the current strength of the video game market. Convenience store chain The Pantry (# 5) also saw its revenues grow from multiple acquisitions.