The Top 100 Fastest-Growing Retailers 2013-2014
Retail Online Integration is excited to present its fifth annual list of the 100 fastest-growing omnichannel retail companies. To compile this year's list, we researched net sales figures for all of the public retail companies in the United States (and a select few headquartered in Canada that have a significant presence in the U.S.). We compared individual company's sales numbers to their previous ficsal year sales, calculated the percentage change year-over-year, then ranked each company in descending order to arrive at our top 100. We've also included profiles of select companies that appear on this year's list. Check out the charts below for the full list. Enjoy!
#1 Advance Auto Parts
For the first time in three years, a new company claims the title of fastest-growing retailer. Advance Auto Parts, the largest automotive aftermarket parts provider in North America, saw its sales grow 51.59 percent in its 2014 fiscal year, from $6.5 billion to $9.8 billion.
Helping to fuel this growth was Advance Auto Parts acquisition of General Parts International (GPI), a distributor and supplier of original equipment and aftermarket replacement products for commercial markets operating under the CARQUEST and WORLDPAC brands, which officially closed in early January 2014.
The transaction added 1,246 company-operated stores and 1,418 independently owned CARQUEST locations to Advance Auto Parts’ portfolio (the retailer now counts more than 5,000 company-operated stores total), helping the retailer expand its geographic presence and commercial capabilities.
In addition to growing store count, Advance Auto Parts acquisition of GPI saw it pick up complementary product (e.g., paint) and category offerings (e.g., heavy duty), create new sales channels with independent customers, and significantly expand its commercial sales team.
Last year was an exciting one for Overstock.com, the online retailer that sells more than 1 million products, including furniture, rugs, bedding, electronics, clothing and jewelry. In January 2014, for example, Overstock became the first major online retailer to accept Bitcoin as a payment option. In the year since, customers have made $3 million in Bitcoin purchases on Overstock.
Last April, Overstock was ranked one of America’s “100 Most Trustworthy Companies” by Forbes, and the following month it launched Supplier Oasis Fulfillment Services, a wholly owned subsidiary that provides omnichannel fulfillment services. Finally, in December, Overstock reported a 23 percent increase in sales between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday over the same time period from 2013. Cyber Monday sales alone saw an increase of 24 percent over 2013, leading to the highest single day of sales in Overstock’s history.
For Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market, 2014 was the latest in a string of successful years. Some would even argue the organic grocery store chain has one of the most loyal customer bases in the retail industry. So what’s Whole Foods secret to success? Brand transparency. Founded in September 1980, Whole Foods has grown from humble beginnings to international success.
Over the last 35 years, Whole Foods has grown through a strong brick-and-mortar presence and an engaged community. The company, which started with just 19 people, has grown to more than 400 locations across the U.S. and U.K. and has over 88,000 total team members.
That makes sense considering that for 18 consecutive years, Whole Foods has been listed on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.” Whole Foods prides itself on the transparency it provides its customers. The quality of its products — e.g., where they’re from, how they’re made — is communicated clearly to shoppers. In addition to being transparent, Whole Foods has created a community.
For example, in multiple brick-and-mortar locations, Whole Foods offers cooking demonstrations featuring local products and encourages the community to share with friends.
Nordstrom is often cited as a brand at the forefront of innovation and technology, one that other retailers should emulate. And while that’s certainly the case, the retailer is also getting the basics right too.
Nordstrom successfully balances being a traditional brick-and-mortar retail brand while evolving with the times to meet the needs of today’s omnichannel consumers. For example, Nordstrom is testing digitally connected (i.e., smart) fitting rooms in its stores, enabling consumers to interact with the brand — e.g., read a review of the product you’re trying on, find complementary accessory items, summon an associate to bring you an item in a different size or color — at every point during the purchase decision, including the critical fitting room.
Nordstrom has partnered with eBay on the smart fitting room technology. It’s this level of commitment to customer service that’s helped Nordstrom become a leading brand in the competitive upscale fashion category. Last year was just the latest in a long line of profitable years for the Seattle-based retailer. It posted a 7.76 percent year-over-year net sales gain in 2014.
#94 Blue Nile
As the jewelry industry continues to waiver, Blue Nile is proving to be a constant. Founded in 1999, the retailer of fine jewelry has been at the forefront of innovation in the category, introducing a new way to purchase jewelry online. However, Blue Nile is undergoing its biggest transformation yet. After 16 years of being an online-only retailer, Blue Nile is going to test the waters of brick-and-mortar retail.
Blue Nile will open its first brick-and-mortar store on New York’s Long Island later this year. In 2014, Blue Nile made its first move toward brick-and-mortar by partnering with Nordstrom to showcase its product in two Nordstrom locations in an effort to help gain traffic to its website and mobile app