Top 20 publicly traded specialty retailers ranked by most recent annual volume.*
Many specialty retailers flourished in a challenging retail environment. Dress Barn and The Children’s Place joined the list this year, replacing Wilson’s The Leather Experts and Goody’s Family Clothing. Several companies, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Chico’s, Urban Outfitters and American Eagle Outfitters, scored double-digit revenue increases.
1. GAP INC.
Volume: $16.02 billion, down 1 percent
Last year’s rank: 1
Gap Inc. has experienced slumping sales in its Gap brand, a $6.8 billion business that is the company’s largest division, as well as growing impatience among investors.
2. LIMITED BRANDS INC.
Volume: $9.7 billion, up 3 percent
Last year’s rank: 2
The 43-year-old company has excelled in the personal care area with brands such as Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, even as its apparel chains, Express and Limited stores, have struggled to find their identities.
3. ABERCROMBIE & FITCH CO.
Volume: $2.78 billion, up 38 percent
Last year’s rank: 4
Profits climbed 61 percent in 2005 at the Ohio-based company. Abercrombie is now taking its buff models to London, where a store is set to open next year.
4. CHARMING SHOPPES INC.
Volume: $2.76 billion, up 18 percent
Last year’s rank: 3
This plus-size specialty retailer registered a 54 percent spike in profits last year with its Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug and Catherines brands. It also bought the catalogue firm Crosstown Traders.
5. AMERICAN EAGLE OUTFITTERS INC.
Volume: $2.31 billion, up 23 percent
Last year’s rank: 5
American Eagle has prospered by targeting 15- to 25-year-olds. It is planning to add to its 806 stores by launching Martin + Osa, an active lifestyle brand that courts 25- to 40-year-old men and women.
6. ANNTAYLOR STORES CORP.
Volume: $2.07 billion, up 12 percent
Last year’s rank: 6
WWD said in June that Ann Taylor was seeing consistent performance, marked by eight straight months of positive store comps. Chief executive Kay Krill, who took the helm in early 2005, said that “we are in the midst of a turnaround.”
7. TALBOTS INC.
Volume: $1.81 billion, up 7 percent
Last year’s rank: 7
The New England-based retailer, known for its classic apparel, is still digesting its $517 million acquisition of J. Jill this year. The company’s plus-size and Talbots Kids sales were strong in 2005.
8. THE CHILDREN’S PLACE
Volume: $1.67 billion, up 44 percent
Not ranked last year.
This firm, which also owns Disney Stores, designs and manufactures clothes aimed at kids up to age 10. Ceo Ezra Dabah wants to add another 700 stores to its 1,100-shop stable by an undisclosed date.
9. CHICO’S FAS INC.
Volume: $1.4 billion, up 32 percent
Last year’s rank: 12
Founded in 1983 as a Mexican folk art and sweater store, Chico’s morphed into a private label women’s retailer with 799 stores. Executives want to sustain 25 percent earnings growth for the foreseeable future.
10. PACIFIC SUNWEAR OF CALIFORNIA INC.
Volume: $1.39 billion, up 13 percent
Last year’s rank: 10
Once a little surf shop in California, PacSun now has more than 1,100 stores. Its newest concept store, One Thousand Steps, is aimed at young adults and was launched this spring.
11. CLAIRE’S STORES INC.
Volume: $1.37 billion, up 7 percent
Last year’s rank: 8
Claire’s Stores’ sales in Europe keep climbing. The retailer opened 55 units there in fiscal 2006 alone, targeting new markets in Spain, Holland and Belgium. Sales per square foot for its 3,050 stores worldwide were $477.
12. AEROPOSTALE INC.
Volume: $1.2 billion, up 25 percent
Last year’s rank: 13
Fourth-quarter net sales surged 33 percent for this mall-based teen retailer. The company, which has headquarters in New York City, plans to open at least 70 more stores by the end of this year to house its lifestyle brands, such as Jimmy’Z Surf Co.
13. NEW YORK & CO. INC.
Volume: $1.13 billion, up 9 percent
Last year’s rank: 11
Founded in 1918, this 500-store retail chain went public in 2004. Its target customer: women between the ages of 25 and 45 who are looking for moderate-priced apparel and accessories.
14. URBAN OUTFITTERS INC.
Volume: $1.09 billion, up 32 percent
Last year’s rank: 14
Propelled by sales at its namesake stores, along with Anthropologie and Free People, this eclectic retailer joined the billion-dollar sales club in fiscal 2006. Its compounded annual sales growth totaled 33 percent from fiscal 2002 to 2006.
15. THE DRESS BARN INC.
Volume: $1 billion, up 33 percent
Not ranked last year.
This family-run company sprinted onto the list after buying Maurices’ 477 stores. The synergy is telling: Dress Barn targets markets in midsize cities, Maurices is in small towns.
16. GUESS INC.
Volume: $936.1 million, up 28 percent
Last year’s rank: 19
The Los Angeles-based company got its start in the Seventies with its best-selling 3-zip Marilyn jeans. Now goods include eyeglasses, jewelry and fragrances. Second-quarter 2006 sales have already spiked 23 percent.
17. CATO CORP.
Volume: $836.4 million, up 6 percent
Last year’s rank: 15
The private label retailer, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., added 67 stores last year under the names Cato and It’s Fashion. Its stores are in shopping centers throughout the southeastern U.S.
18. COLDWATER CREEK INC.
Volume: $779.7 million, up 32 percent
Last year’s rank: 18
WWD reported that Coldwater will be a mature chain by 2010. So the chain, which caters mainly to Baby Boomers, has crafted a new concept. The retailer launched day spas that are a short walk from its stores.
19. TWEEN BRANDS INC.
Volume: $757.9 million, up 12 percent
Last year’s rank: 16
In July, Too Inc. became Tween Brands, signaling its allegiance to girls ages 7 to 12. Once part of The Limited, Tween now has 565 stores under the separate Limited Too nameplate and 111 Justice stores.
20. HOT TOPIC INC.
Volume: $725.1 million, up 10 percent
Last year’s rank: 17
With its pop culture-inspired clothes, Hot Topic caters to young men and women between the ages of 12 and 22. The chain plans to open 50 stores this year, 30 fewer than originally planned.
Source: company reports; *Companies that reported full-year results on the common retail fiscal calendar