Cover Story: The 100 Fastest-Growing Omnichannel Retailers
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We're excited to bring you our list of the 100 fastest-growing omnichannel retailers for the 2013 fiscal year. To compile this year's list, we researched 2013 fiscal year net sales figures for all the public retail companies in the U.S. and Canada. We then compared those numbers to the previous fiscal year's net sales. After we calculated the percentage change year-over-year, we ranked each company in descending order to arrive at our top 100. We've also included select profiles that highlight specific companies on the list. Enjoy!
#1 Michael Kors
For the second time in as many years, net sales at Michael Kors grew the most of any publicly traded omnichannel retail company. The global luxury lifestyle brand posted a nearly 70 percent increase in year-over-year sales, including comparable store sales increasing 40.1 percent and wholesale net sales increasing 69.2 percent. Including licensed locations, there were 400 Michael Kors stores worldwide at the end of the 2013 fiscal year.
The good times figure to continue for Michael Kors in 2014. The company will be rolling out a redesigned website this fall, attempting to enhance the level of engagement between the brand and its customers. Traffic to the company's website increased by more than 30 percent from December 2012 to December 2013, and search volume for Michael Kors is increasing in the high double-digits as well.
In addition to rolling out a redesigned website, Michael Kors signed an exclusive eyewear license agreement with Luxottica Group in April. The agreement, which will last for 10 years, will enable Michael Kors to continue its global expansion of the brand's eyewear business. Luxottica will produce eyewear for both the Michael Kors Collection and MICHAEL Michael Kors lines. The first collection produced with Luxottica will launch in January 2015.
"We've achieved great success in the eyewear business and believe that our new partnership will further enhance our luxury image in the optical marketplace," said John D. Idol, CEO of Michael Kors, in a company press release. "Luxottica is the industry leader in eyewear, which makes it the perfect partner for our luxury brand. Our eyewear business is an important component of the overall growth strategy as we continue our expansion around the world." — Joe Keenan
The Fossil Group, Inc. has come a long way since Tom Kartsotis founded it in 1984 as Overseas Products International. At the time, the company imported moderately priced fashion watches made in the Far East and sold them for a reasonable price. Today, Fossil is a $3.3 billion global fashion accessories business. Its products are sold to department stores, specialty retail stores, and specialty watch and jewelry stores worldwide through co-owned foreign sales subsidiaries and independent distributors. Fossil also has more than 540 company-owned and operated retail stores as well as a strong global e-commerce presence. Here are some highlights from Fossil's 2013 fiscal year, according to its website:
- Net sales of 3.3 billion, an increase of 14 percent compared to $2.9 billion in fiscal year 2012;
- wholesale net sales and direct-to-consumer net sales increased 14 percent; and
- operating income increased 15 percent.
Fossil is also uniquely poised for future growth. Earlier this year, the company announced it would work with Google and its Android Wear operating system to create a designer brand smartwatch as a first step into the world of wearable technology.
"We believe we're uniquely positioned to develop and bring to market products for our fashion customers that marry the beauty of our designs, the promise of our brands and now the function of new technology," said Greg McKelvey, chief strategy and marketing officer for Fossil, in a company press release. — Melissa Campanelli
#42 ValueVision Media
ValueVision Media, parent company of ShopHQ (formerly ShopNBC), a multichannel electronic retailer via TV, internet and mobile, has undergone a transformation over the last year. The biggest (and most noticeable) change was the rebranding of the name as a result of ValueVision Media's acquisition of NBCUniversal's financial stake in the company.
"For 23 years we have been a trusted resource and shopping destination, the last 12 of which were under the ShopNBC brand," said Carol Steinberg, ValueVision chief operating officer, in a company press release. "As ShopHQ, we plan to further enhance and build upon what our viewers have come to love and expect from us, including engaging hosts, exciting products, great values and a convenient, informative watch and shop anytime, anywhere experience."
The renaming of the brand has not only helped ShopHQ reclaim its retail identity, it's also eliminated $4 million in licensing fees as well.
Founded in 1991, ShopHQ originally started as a home shopping network specializing in electronic retail. However, over the last two decades, the company has acquired a loyal community of over 1.4 million customers, and now sells everything from beauty treatments to consumer electronics to fashion and jewelry. In addition, ShopHQ has expanded its retail channels to accommodate its growing audience, including an e-commerce website, mobile apps on both the iOS and Android platforms, and social media communities on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.
Below are some highlights from ShopHQ's 2013 fiscal year:
- net sales increased 12 percent;
- gross profit in the fourth quarter increased 14 percent; and
- the total number of customers purchasing over the last 12 months rose 20 percent to a record 1.4 million. — Caitlin Sullivan
CDW is a newcomer to this list for the simple fact that the brand only became a public company (again) in June 2013, six years after being purchased by private equity firms Madison Dearborn Partners and Providence Equity Partners for $7.4 billion. The omnichannel retailer of technology solutions to businesses, government, education and health care reported total net sales in 2013 were $10.769 billion, compared to $10.128 billion in 2012, an increase of 6.3 percent. Gross profit in 2013 was $1.760 billion, compared to $1.670 billion in 2012, a 5.4 percent increase.
Corporate sales led the way for CDW in 2013, increasing 8.1 percent from the previous year. In particular, medium and large businesses proved to be CDW's most valuable customer segment. The education market, however, is CDW's fastest-growing customer segment, with net sales to those buyers growing 21.5 percent year-over-year.
In addition to selling computer hardware to its B-to-B customer base, CDW wants to be their trusted partner. In March, the retailer announced the launch of its App Marketplace, an online destination that helps organizations cut through the challenges of today's highly fragmented mobile application market. The CDW App Marketplace connects organizations with vetted, proven developers of industry-leading mobile apps for key business functions such as sales support, customer relationship management, human resources systems and more — across all industries and job functions.
"The App Marketplace is a key addition to CDW's Total Mobility Management portfolio, which simplifies mobility management and empowers customers to realize the full promise of mobile technology," said Andrea Bradshaw, CDW's senior director and general manager of mobility solutions. "The marketplace also presents significant opportunities for developers. This is the only destination that matches qualified developers with proven apps and development capabilities to an equally qualified national market that's actively looking for the development services they offer." — Joe Keenan
#77 Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Everyone loves a good chocolate company story, and Durango, Colo.-based Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is just that.
Incorporated in 1982, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is an international franchiser, confectionery manufacturer and retail operator, with stores in the U.S., Canada and the United Arab Emirates. The company produces 300 chocolate candies and other confectionery products using proprietary recipes developed by its master candy maker. During holiday seasons, the company may make as many as 100 additional items, including many candies offered in packages specially designed for the holidays. Approximately 40 percent of the products sold at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory stores are prepared on the premises.
Sales are derived from three sources: sales to franchisees; the collection of initial franchise fees and royalties from franchisees’ sales; and sales at company-owned stores in factory outlet malls, tourist areas, regional malls and streetfronts.
Here are some select highlights from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory's 2013 fiscal year, according to its website:
- total revenue was $36.3 million, an increase of 4.9 percent compared with $34.6 million in fiscal year 2012;
- the company entered into a licensing agreement with Kellogg Company for the use of its Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory trademark on certain specialty cereal brands; and
- the company moved forward with its international expansion initiative. As of May 2013, five Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory stores were open in Japan, and the company's first store in South Korea opened in Seoul last spring. — Melissa Campanelli
For Nashville, Tenn.-based Kirkland's, 2013 was the latest in a string of successful years. Since fiscal year 2009, the specialty retailer of home décor and accessories has realized sales growth. So what's Kirkland's secret for success? Remaining true to the customer.
Founded in 1966, Kirkland's has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Over the last few years, the wholesale retailer has focused its efforts on multiple sales channels. It launched a mobile website, revamped its e-commerce site and developed a social media marketing strategy. Kirkland's Dream Room Giveaway sweepstakes in late 2012 is an example of the company's social media prowess. The Facebook campaign generated a 40 percent increase in fan engagement for Kirkland's on the social media site.
In 2013, Kirkland's went back to its roots and focused on growing its brick-and-mortar business. Specifically, the retailer has opened more stand-alone locations. Currently, about 90 percent of Kirkland's brick-and-mortar stores are in off-mall locations. In addition, the retailer's ever-changing merchandise selection offers consumers a unique blend of style and value.
"As we look to fiscal 2014, we remain excited about the investments in store growth, merchandise systems and process improvement, greater e-commerce capabilities, and focused branding initiatives that we expect to drive improved traffic, sales and earnings results," said Robert Alderson, Kirkland's president and CEO, in a company press release.
Below are a few highlights from Kirkland's 2013 fiscal year:
- net sales increased 2.7 percent from 2012;
- e-commerce sales increased .5 percent, compared to a 3 percent decrease in 2012; and
- the company recently announced it's moving to a larger headquarters. — Caitlin Sullivan