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Surprising Success: 10 Retailers Continue to Grow in Tough Times
By Christina Zarrello
Bucking the economic downturn, 10 retailers have found the recipe for success. Although many others are feeling the pinch, Aeropostale, Target, DSW and The Buckle have posted stellar financial results. These retailers and the others on the list have ambitious plans to open new stores throughout the remainder of 2008 and well into 2009. RIS News highlights 10 surprisingly successful retailers that are beating the odds and winning in the toughest economy in years.
Target: On October 12, the superstore announced ambitious plans to open 45 new stores, launched its first store in Alaska and debuted its 2009 prototype stores. Target's new general-merchandise stores will be roughly 6,000 square feet larger than the current model. The new SuperTarget stores will be approximately 12,000 square feet larger than existing locations and pushes closer to the average size of Wal-Mart's Supercenters.
Aeropostale: A favorite among teens and tweens, the apparel retailer plans to open 100 stores during the next 18 months. Aeropostale announced that its same-store sales rose 5 percent in September. Year-to-date, same-store sales rose 24.9 percent and total sales rose 32 percent to $480.4 million. The apparel retailer currently operates 565 locations nationwide, with average stores occupying spaces of 3,300 to 3,800 square feet in malls.
The Buckle: Month after month, this teen apparel chain posts impressive same-store sales increases. Despite operating 377 stores in 39 states, it gets little attention from the industry because of its relatively small market cap ($1.5 billion). In September, same-store sales rose 19.7 percent and for the five-week period ended October 4, total sales rose a healthy 26 percent to $72.8 million.
Family Dollar: The discount chain plans to open approximately 200 new stores in fiscal year 2009, which began in September. The company also plans to renovate 200 more units to its "concept renewal" format and plans to upgrade technology in about 1,300 stores. The discounter's fourth quarter sales in fiscal 2008, which included the summer months when gasoline was at record highs and food costs soared, jumped 8.2 percent from the previous year to $1.8 billion.
RadioShack: Digital television converter boxes as well as AT&T post-paid wireless upgrade services may have given the electronics chain an edge with profits growing 8.4 percent in the third quarter ended September 30. In addition, sales rose 6.4 percent to $1.02 billion, while same store sales grew 7.7 percent. The retailer also posts solid sales of GPS navigation systems, video games and laptop computers.
DSW Shoes: The footwear retailer plans to open 10 locations across the country in October. The retailer's plans are in line with its projected goal of 35 new locations in 2008. The 17-year-old chain operates 288 stores and supplies inventory to 381 leased locations including Stein Mart, Gordmans, Frugal Fannie's and Filene's Basement, as well as its Web site.
Unified Grocers: The largest wholesale grocery distributor in the western United States announced that it has reached a significant milestone by surpassing $4 billion in revenues for its fiscal year ended September 27, 2008. The company attributed 25.7 percent of its sales growth to customer business gained in the Pacific Northwest from the transaction with Associated Grocers.
Tractor Supply: The farm and ranch equipment retailer announced double-digit increases in its third quarter ended September 27, citing a 13.1 percent increase in sales of animal and pet products, seasonal heating equipment and emergency response equipment related to hurricanes. Sales grew 16.6 percent to $733.9 million, while same store sales grew 6.2 percent. The retailer opened 70 new stores in the first nine months and anticipates 21 new store openings for the remainder of 2008.
Ulta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrance: The beauty products retailer plans to add 180 stores over the next two years. The chain plans to open 80 stores in 2009, 100 in 2010 and expects to be a 1,000-store chain in 2017. Ulta currently operates 283 stores. The typical Ulta store is 10,000 square feet and located in lifestyle centers.
PriceSmart: The warehouse club announces that its same-store sales for September 2008 rose 15.3 percent. Net sales climbed more than 19.8 percent to $93.6 million in September from $78.1 million reported last September. PriceSmart had 25 warehouse clubs operating at the end of September, compared to 23 warehouse clubs at the same time last year.
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