American Apparel
American Apparel

WASHINGTON D.C., Aug 3, 2009 – Although the economy did its best to undermine growth last year, dozens of budding retailers managed to buck the trend.

STORES Magazine’s 2009 Hot 100 Retailers list, to be unveiled in the August issue of STORES magazine, highlights retail companies that reported the greatest year-over-year revenue percentage growth in 2008. All public companies with more than $300 million in sales were eligible for the list, which was compiled by Planet Retail.

“The economy presented unprecedented challenges for all retailers in 2008,” said STORES Executive Editor Susan Reda. “With consumers saving more and spending less, the ability to open new stores and grow from within shows a retailer’s true connection to its shoppers.”

A quick look at the top 10 found that a handful of companies grew organically, while most grew as a result of a merger or acquisition. Of the companies that grew organically, Los Angeles-based American Apparel (#2) was tops, with revenues growing 57.6 percent from 2008. The casual apparel store credits much of its success to the company’s ability to appeal to its core audience.

Another company with strong organic growth is Apple Stores (#5), which grew 46.0 percent from 2007 largely due to Americans’ fascination with small, convenient, portable electronics. Still opening new locations, Apple also uses its stores as a way to build brand awareness.

Additionally, at a time when consumers have all but eliminated spending on discretionary items like jewelry, Finlay Enterprises (#8) – owner of Bailey Banks & Biddle, Carlyle and Congress jewelry stores – managed to grow 38.4 percent in 2008.

Rounding out the top ten,’s (#10) revenues grew 29.2 percent from 2008. A large part of the company’s success comes from the other retailers who sell merchandise through the site.

Many of the companies who made the Hot 100 list this year did so because of an acquisition or merger. Chart-topper DineEquity (#1), formally IHOP Corp., acquired the Applebee’s chain in 2008. Sales for the restaurant chains have more than tripled since the acquisition. Susser Holdings (#3) has continued to grow since its purchase of Town & Country Food Stores and Village Market grocery stores, and grocer A&P (#4) secures the number four spot from its purchase of Pathmark Stores. Casual-dining company Wendy’s/Arby’s Group (#6) saw growth both from their companies’ merger and from adding hard-to-beat value menu options.

Other retailers in the top ten which grew from acquisitions include Missouri-based auto parts and accessories store O’Reilly Automotive (#7), which purchased CSK stores, and The Pantry (#9), which continues to buy smaller companies with a few dozen locations.

Hot 100 Top 10
1. DineEquity
2. American Apparel
3. Susser Holdings
4. A&P
5. Apple Stores/iTunes
6. Wendy’s/Arby’s Group
7. O’Reilly Automotive
8. Finlay Enterprises
9. The Pantry