The gargantuan Wal-Mart dwarfs all other mass merchants in terms of sales, but that doesn’t mean the competition is taking it lying down. Target and Kmart are focusing on apparel by taking the high road. Target continues to expand its offerings with new designer and national brands. Meanwhile, Kmart, which moved its design group to New York, is improving quality and style. Department stores are trying to prove that they’re not the dinosaurs they’ve been made out to be. Bloomingdale’s introduced a bold concept store in SoHo, Lord & Taylor is shedding its frumpy image and Saks Fifth Avenue is spit-polishing its flagship. Firms are putting underperforming divisions up for sale, proving there are no sacred cows in retailing.
- WAL-MART STORES INC.
Revenues for trailing 12 months: $258.68 billion
The world’s largest company continues to grow sales at a hefty rate. Its total sales volume is more than the total of the other top 20 retailers combined.
- TARGET CORP.
Revenues: $48.16 billion
The number two retailer builds sales by offering fashion-forward goods at low prices. Design partnerships with Isaac Mizrahi and others and national brands like Lee contributed to a gain in market share by generating 13.2 percent growth in total retail sales in the fall season.
- SEARS, ROEBUCK & CO.
Revenues: $40.04 billion
After shedding its credit-card business, Sears is focusing on honing its merchandise assortment.
- KMART HOLDING CORP.
Revenues: $23.25 billion
One year out of bankruptcy, Kmart is in the process of revamping its entire apparel mix. Kmart recently opened an office for its design group in New York. The goal is to improve quality and style while introducing a wider range of product.
- J.C. PENNEY CO. INC.
Revenues: $17.79 billion
Wall Street cheered when this moderate department store chain sold its Eckerd drug store unit, which was on the market for months. The retailer is focusing on its booming Internet business and its new store program that includes opening more of its smaller freestanding units.
- FEDERATED DEPARTMENT STORES
Revenues: $15.26 billion
This department store giant is said to be interested in taking Marshall Field’s off Target Corp.’s hands.
- MAY DEPARTMENT STORES CO.
Revenues: $13.34 billion
The nameplates under this retailer’s ownership include Filene’s, Hecht’s, Famous Barr and Lord & Taylor, among others. L&T is working to shed its dowdy image under ceo Jane Elfers.
- TJX COS.
Revenues: $13.33 billion
This off-price retailer has grown its business offering home goods as well as apparel.
- KOHL’S CORP.
Revenues: $10.28 billion
During its recent annual meeting, Kohl’s said it was launching a private label program, apt. 9, for soft home goods and apparel.
- DILLARD’S INC.
Revenues: $7.86 billion
This department store retailer is one of the few public companies managed by its founding family.
- NORDSTROM INC.
Revenues: $6.49 billion
The high end continues to boom, and so does this retailer. Nordstrom had a 15.9 percent comp-store sales increase in March.
- SAKS INC.
Revenues: $6.06 billion
Strengthening its cost structure has allowed this retailer to post better earnings, bolstered by stronger sales. Fred Wilson, president and ceo of Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises, has a vision: a remodeled flagship, more powerful brand presentations and splashier events.
- ROSS STORES INC.
Revenues: $3.92 billion
This off-price retailer taps into a consumer desire for bargain hunting.
- NEIMAN MARCUS GROUP INC.
Revenues: $3.31 billion
Online sales at Neiman Marcus are expected to grow to $200 million this year. One of the company’s goals is to sell more designer merchandise — the fastest-growing online category — on the site.
- SHOPKO STORES INC.
Revenues: $3.2 billion
Despite a stumble or two, this regional discount retailer serves consumers while working in the shadow of Wal-Mart.
- BURLINGTON COAT FACTORY
Revenues: $2.81 billion
Although its bottom line dipped in its most recent quarter, management told Wall Street apparel sales continue to gain momentum.
- RETAIL VENTURES INC.
Revenues: $2.59 billion
Retail Ventures, whose nameplates include DSW, Filene’s Basement and Value City, said costs relating to store openings impacted the bottom line in its most recent quarter.
- STEIN MART INC.
Revenues: $1.36 billion
Stepped-up marketing efforts are paying off for this discount retailer.
- STAGE STORES INC.
Revenues: $972.2 million
Wall Street is keeping a close eye on this 500-plus unit regional chain, with a consensus rating of “strong buy.”
- BON-TON STORES INC.
Revenues: $929.7 million
The acquisition of Elder-Beerman Stores Corp. helped this regional retailer post soaring bottom- and top-line results in its most recent quarter.
Source: Reuters as of May 1, 2004