The National Retail Federation’s annual report on the Hot 100 Retailers is based on increases in domestic sales for the most recently completed fiscal year. The breakout charts look at sector leaders.
Retailers on the Sustained Sizzler list have been in the Hot 100 every year since 2015. Four of them, however, have produced year-over-year sales increases large enough to earn a spot 15 years in a row — and that’s about all they have in common: Amazon.com, O’Reilly Automotive, Ross Stores and Tractor Supply Co.
NRF 2020 Hot 100 Retailers
Check out the full list of retailers here.
Amazon is a “structural winner” in the COVID-19 pandemic, according to RBC Capital Markets in a research report written by Mark Mahaney. He raised the target price on Amazon’s stock shares to $3,300 from $2,700 after RBC’s annual survey of ecommerce shoppers in the United States found the shift to online purchasing “has accelerated materially” as a result of the pandemic, and that much of the shift would be permanent.
Another thing the survey revealed: Respondents who identified themselves as Amazon Prime members had grown to 67 percent, up from 59 percent a year ago.
A little belt-tightening by Americans can be a positive indicator for an auto parts dealer like O’Reilly Automotive. It certainly helped O’Reilly boost sales last year, when the average age of cars and light trucks on the road rose to 11.8 years, according to IHS Markit.
“O’Reilly Automotive is essentially recession-proof, as consumers use and extend the life of their existing automobiles instead of purchasing a new car during times of economic stress,” says Neil Patel of The Motley Fool. “However, a robust economic environment is good for business as well. As new automobile sales climb, the total population of vehicles on the road goes up.” O’Reilly, deemed an essential business when other retailers had to close during the pandemic, is now waiting for restrictions to be lifted and all those postponed trips to begin.
Clothing retailers have not had a very easy time these past two years. With 2019 being rather sluggish all the way around, this year their stores were deemed nonessential and forced to close for weeks on end as COVID-19 worked its way across the country. Somehow, though, Ross Stores seems to make the best of a bad situation. With its two brands — Ross Dress for Less and dd’s Discounts — the company has staked everything on bricks-and-mortar retailing, eschewing ecommerce altogether. Ross Stores was planning to open as many as 100 new stores this year and has not yet revised that number in the wake of the pandemic.
Tractor Supply Co. operates in a well-defined niche catering to farmers, ranchers and others with rural lifestyles. The company was deemed an essential business during the coronavirus crisis and hired 5,000 workers to handle the extra business. TSC expanded its buy online, deliver from store service to 650 stores and is currently working on adding another 500 stores to the program. CEO Hal Lawton, who joined the company in January after stints at Macy’s, The Home Depot and eBay, says of his early efforts, “It’s certainly not the way we had scripted the first 100 days.”