WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug 3, 2010 – As American families invested in off-price, discount, online and even after-market merchandise throughout 2009, certain retailers were the beneficiaries of consumers’ lifestyle changes.

According to the STORES’ 2010 Hot 100 Retailers list, published in the August issue of STORES magazine, many of the top 10 retailers this year were able to grow because of the economy, not despite it.

The annual list highlights retail companies that reported the greatest increase in domestic sales between 2008 and 2009. All public and private companies with more than $300 million in sales were eligible for the list, which was compiled by Kantar Retail.

“The changing retail landscape has undoubtedly opened up doors for some retailers who may not have been top of mind a few years back,” said Susan Reda, Editor, STORES Media. “The importance of brand recognition has never been more relevant, but consumer demand for value has never been more prevalent. The list this year celebrates those retailers that performed well because of the hard times and those that continue to do well despite them.”

Topping the list this year is SYMS, the Secaucus, N.J.-based, off-price menswear company. In 2009, SYMS bought 20 Filene’s Basement locations and now offers discount designer men’s and women’s attire.

Citi Trends (#10), Ross Stores (#21) and TJX (#29) are among other off-price retailers who also made the list this year.

Coming in at No. 2 this year is Tesco’s Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market (#2).Though only located in a few western states, Fresh & Easy has managed to stay relatively true to the aggressive expansion plans it put in place prior to the economic downturn. They had a total of 145 open at the end of last year, with the number of units growing 26 percent

With more Americans looking to fix their vehicles than fork over cash for a new one, O’Reilly Automotive (#3), which specializes in aftermarket auto parts, capitalized on the downturn and won over a barrage of new clientele in 2009. O’Reilly’s sales grew more than 35 percent from 2008 to 2009.

With 2009 sales increasing an impressive 34.3 percent from 2008, it’s no surprise that rue21, which offers teens and adults the latest fashions at a low price, landed the No. 4 spot this year. The company boosted its store count last year by 20 percent and has plans to open another 100 stores in 2010. Two other teen retailers also landed in the top 10 this year – Aéropostale (#8) and The Buckle (#9).

Verizon Wireless (#5), Amazon.com (#6) Netflix (#7) also join the top ranks this year and round out the top 10.

“It’s not unusual to see smaller retailers atop lists of fast-growing companies because generating growth off a small base can be relatively easy for an appealing concept,” said Mary Brett Whitfield, Senior Vice President, Kantar Retail. “But given the economic challenges of the past year, making this list regardless of size is quite an accomplishment.”