Amid Constant Change, Largest Retailers Stay Ahead


Launching new strategies, augmenting the in-store experience, and reengineering both logistics and digital commerce capabilities helped the largest U.S. retailers maintain their edge during the past year, according to the annual Top 100 Retailers from the National Retail Federation’s STORES Magazine and Kantar Consulting.

“Companies large and small are transforming their businesses in the quest to satisfy shoppers who rewrite the rules of engagement faster than light,” STORES Media Editor Susan Reda said.

The 10 largest retailers on the list remain the same as last year, although the order has changed. Walmart remains the largest, followed by Kroger. But Amazon has jumped to No. 3 from No. 7, with Costco slipping from third place to fourth and The Home Depot dropping from fourth to fifth. Walgreens Boots Alliance remains at No. 6, with CVS dropping to seventh place from fifth. Unchanged are No. 8 Target, No. 9 Lowe’s and No. 10 Albertson’s.

“Walmart holds the coveted top spot in part because they never stop innovating,” Reda said. “From risk-taking acquisitions to embracing emerging technologies and spearheading initiatives that empower the business to be a force for good, Walmart sets a high bar.”

Most of the companies showed sales growth last year, but Amazon experienced the largest percentage growth as it expanded its online presence into bricks-and-mortar retail with the acquisition of Whole Foods Market, and provided new services like grocery delivery and Prime Wardrobe.

“We find ourselves at a point in U.S. retail evolution where key players are moving from a more divided approach of ‘online’ versus ‘bricks-and-mortar’ strategies, to those that cater to the more holistic reality of shoppers and commerce,” said Kantar Consulting Senior Vice President of Insights and Operations Sara Al-Tukhaim. “This will continue to pave the way for exciting and innovative retail partnerships, targeting growth both within and increasingly outside the realm of retail.”

The STORES Top 100 Retailers are listed by U.S. sales, which may include estimates for private or closely held companies. Retailers included in the Top 100 either have group headquarters located in the United States or are foreign entities with significant operations in the U.S. market. For retailers with group headquarters located overseas, data is presented for North American operations only. Revenues from major non-retail operating segments are excluded where data availability allows.

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