The 15 Fastest-Growing Retailers In America

Business Insider

The future of retail is online, and the latest numbers affirm this.

The National Retail Federation put together a list of the top 100 fastest-growing retailers in America, topped out by Amazon, which grew by an astounding 42 percent in sales last year.

On the other hand, big-box retailers like Walmart are revising their strategies to compete against Amazon, and fell much further down the list.

We've included a list of the top 15 companies, ranked by sales growth.

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1. Amazon

2011 Sales growth: 42.5%
2011 Worldwide retail sales: $47.7 billion
Number of stores: Online only
Headquarters: Seattle, Washington

Amazon is one of the most valuable brands in the world, and its incredible growth signals that the future is in e-commerce.


2. Verizon Wireless

2011 Sales growth: 37.1%
2011 Worldwide retail sales: $11 billion
Number of stores: 2,330
Headquarters: Basking Ridge, New Jersey

Like AT&T, Verizon has a dominant place in the telecom market, and it's faring well in the smartphone wars — its iPhone made up half of smartphone sales. 

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3. Apple Stores / iTunes

2011 Sales growth: 36.9%
2011 Worldwide retail sales: $18.4 billion
Number of stores: 245
Headquarters: Cupertino, California

It's no surprise to see Apple here; it's still one of the most iconic brands in America. Tim Cook has been hiring top talent since he assumed his CEO job, and the strategy is paying off.

4. AT&T Wireless

2011 Worldwide retail sales: $6.5 billion
Number of stores: 2,300
Headquarters: Dallas, Texas

AT&T continues to compete formidably in the smartphone market — after all, it's one of the two largest carriers by a longshot, next to Verizon.

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5. 7-Eleven

2011 Sales growth: 19.1%
2011 Worldwide retail sales: $62.7 billion
Number of stores: 7,779
Headquarters: Dallas, Texas

7-Eleven is a mainstay for many around the U.S. It's also experimenting around the world, offering high-end goods like Gucci bags in Korea.


6. Dick's Sporting Goods

2011 Sales growth: 18.1%
2011 Worldwide retail sales: $5.2 billion
Number of stores: 561
Headquarters: Coraopolis, Pennsylvania

Analysts believe Dick's "access to premium brands" protects it from competition from Amazon, at least for now.

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7. Alimentation Couche-Tard

2011 Sales growth: 16.6%
2011 Worldwide retail sales: $6.9 billion
Number of stores: 4,050
Headquarters: Tempe, Arizona

First opened in 1980, the Canadian convenience store chain moved into the U.S. in 2001 and it continues to be a growing presence.


8. Tractor Supply Co.

2011 Sales growth: 16.3%
2011 Worldwide retail sales: $4.2 billion
Number of stores: 1,085
Headquarters: Brentwood, Tennessee

Founded as a mail order tractor parts business in 1938, Tractor Supply Co. has grown to become the largest retail farm and ranch store in the U.S.

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Flickr / judybaxter

9. Dollar General

2011 Sales growth: 13.6%
2011 Worldwide retail sales: $14.8 billion
Number of stores: 9,937
Headquarters: Goodlettsville, Tennessee

Like the Dollar Tree, Dollar General is turning to food items, along with beer and wine, to increase its sales — and it's working.


10. Chick-fil-A

2011 Sales growth: 13.1%
2011 Worldwide retail sales: $4 billion
Number of stores: 1,615
Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia

Although the popular fast food chain has received some negative publicity as of late, it has a loyal customer base who can't get enough of its famous chicken.

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11. Nordstrom

2011 Sales growth: 12.7%
2011 Worldwide retail sales: $10.5 billion
Number of stores: 225
Headquarters: Seattle, Washington

Nordstrom is a high-end staple for millions of Americans, and finally has plans to debut in New York City.

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12. Dollar Tree

2011 Sales growth: 12.5%
2011 Worldwide retail sales: $6.6 billion
Number of stores: 4,252
Headquarters: Chesapeake, Virgina

CEO Bob Sasser said that Dollar Tree is expanding its frozen and refrigerator product assortments to fight online competition and keep bringing people into stores.

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Flickr / Andreanna Moya Photography

13. Whole Foods Market

2011 Sales growth: 12.1%
2011 Worldwide retail sales: $10.1 billion
Number of stores: 311
Headquarters: Austin, Texas

Whole Foods opened the doors to its first store in 1980 and has become a symbol of "modern luxury" for Millennials — and really anyone who can afford the high price tags for organic and top-label food.

14. H-E-B

2011 Sales growth: 11.9%
2011 Worldwide retail sales: $18 billion
Number of stores: 308
Headquarters: San Antonio, Texas

The regional chain has stores in Texas and northern Mexico, and ranked 12th on Forbes' 2011 list of America's largest private companies.

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Flickr / MonkeyMyshkin

15. Wegmans Food Markets

2011 Sales growth: 10.7%
2011 Worldwide retail sales: $6.2 billion
Number of stores: 78
Headquarters: Rochester, New York

Its "cult" following may be part of the reason Wegmans has been called the best grocery store in the country — and named one of the best places to work by Forbes. 



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