The 15 Fastest-Growing Retailers In America

Aimee Groth and Samantha Cortez

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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