Are Hot Retailers of 2015 Still Hot?

Differentiation is important for the nation’s fastest-growing (“hot”) retailers. These retailers typically come in a variety of different flavors, but one thing they have in common is that they all do things a little differently—and this helps them get (and often) stay ahead of the pack.

Chart-topper Hudson’s Bay is “hot” because at least one man in retailing thinks there is still a place for the traditional department store. Hudson’s Bay Executive Chairman Richard Baker, who bought Lord & Taylor 9 years ago, has assembled a conglomerate operating in three countries on two continents.

Runner-up, founded in November 2010 and offering deep discounts on an array of general merchandise, was rebranded as Choxi in 2015 after Nordstrom objected to its name (due to possible confusion with its Nordstrom Rack off-price division). The new name is a mixture of “chock full” and “choice.” It is not a real word in any language — which can assist a firm expanding globally.

Number 3, Zulily, has elevated the flash sale model to new heights. The company’s early strength was in infant clothing, toys, and accessories with a very strict no-returns policy. In May 2015, Zulily began a test program that allows some customers to return some brands of apparel and home linens.

“The Hot 100 is a mix of companies that have balance sheets that allow them to make acquisitions or grow organi­cally,” explains Bryan Gildenberg, the chief knowledge officer at Kantar Retail, providers of the Hot 100 data. “Hot 100 retail­ers can grow more quickly because they understand why people are buying. They understand the dynamics of their audience.” Among those following the acquisition trail is Number 4, G-III Apparel Group. Best known as a soft-goods vendor to major department and specialty stores, it also operates its own retail stores under the Wilsons Leather, Bass, G. H. Bass & Co., Vilebrequin, and Calvin Klein Performance banners.

Ranking as Number 5 is Wayfair, the umbrella company for five different home furnishings and decor E-commerce brands. The firm had a particularly good holiday selling season 2 years ago, with the active customers in its direct retail busi­ness reaching 3.2 million at year-end, up 54 percent from a year earlier.

Two years ago, Number 7 on the list, Office Depot pur­chased a major rival in OfficeMax and not too long afterward put itself in position to be taken over by Staples, potentially reducing the number of office supply superstore operators to just one. If the Staples takeover cleared regulatory hurdled, Wall Street analysts said they expected at least 1,000 office supply stores to be closed around the country. (Authors’note: Due to U.S. government objections, the two companies called off their merger in early 2016. For both firms, their physical stores are vulnerable to online retailers such as

Both Number 8, Signet Jewelers, and Number 9, Men’s Wearhouse, acquired major rivals in Zale and JoS. A. Bank, respectively. Signet has put together the only national group of mall-based popular-priced jewelry stores, and Men’s Wear- house has achieved pretty much the same among men’s apparel retailers after turning the tables on JoS. A. Bank, which had tried to take over Men’s Wearhouse.

Together, supermarkets and apparel stores account for nearly half of the Hot 100 entries. Most of the Hot 100 super­markets have “core categories that are growing very quickly,” Gildenberg says, such as an emphasis on natural and organic foods or a store full of ethnic products.

Source: Barry Berman, Joel R Evans, Patrali Chatterjee (2017), Retail Management: A Strategic Approach, Pearson; 13th edition.

1 thoughts on “Are Hot Retailers of 2015 Still Hot?

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