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NRF Top 100 Retailer List: Predictable, With Upsets Ahead

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Though news out of much of the full-price apparel sector has been grim lately, many top stores across categories and tiers are holding their own.

The NRF Top 100 Retailers ranking out Thursday reveals how companies are fairing compared to their peers. The list, which was compiled in coordination with Kantar Retail, analyzes each firm based on their 2016 sales in the U.S. The main ranking is also accompanied by deeper dives into specific categories that highlight retailers that earn at least 10 percent of the category leader.

Walmart remained in the No. 1 slot with an estimated $363 billion in sales in the U.S. alone. The mass merchant has an estimated 5,284 stores, and the U.S. represents 71 percent of the company’s worldwide sales.

Kroger, Costco and Home Depot each hold onto the second, third and fourth spots for 2017.

The balance of the top 10 retailers remained the same, though they shuffled places on the list. CVS moved up two spots to No. 5 on a 13 percent growth in sales, Amazon edged up one to No. 7 thanks to a 24.6% U.S. sales surge, and a 5 percent boost helped Loews step up from 10 to nine. Those that moved down the list include Walgreens, which slid one spot to sixth place, Albertsons dropped to tenth from ninth and Target tumbled two places to eighth, as the only retailer in this top tier to experience a contraction in sales.

[Read more about top ranking companies: Technology Drives Value in Ranking of Top 100 Most Valuable Brands]

In what the ranking dubs its Mass Apparel category, which includes mid-tier department stores, off-price chains and fast fashion retailers, TJX is king. The company, which ranked No. 18 overall, experienced a 5 percent increase in comp store sales to almost $21 billion (excluding HomeGoods). Though the company experienced a 2.4% decline in comp store sales, 24th ranked Kohl’s is a close second in this sector with just shy of $19 billion.

NRF Top 100 Retailers List 2017

The biggest movers in this category include Ascena Retail Group, home of stores like Ann Taylor and Lane Bryant, which leapt up to 61 from 86 on the overall list despite experiencing a 5 percent drop in comp store sales to a total of just under $6 billion. H&M hopped up six spots from No. 100 last year with $4.1 billion in U.S. sales, and Ross Stores rose five places to 35th with a 4 percent increase in same store sales to $12.9 billion.

Of the premium apparel players, which includes multi-brand mall staples as well as better labels, only five earned enough to place in the top 100. Macy’s came out on top with $22 billion in U.S. sales (excluding Bloomingdale’s), despite comp sales that fell by 3.5%, followed by L Brands and Dillard’s.

NRF Top 100 Retailers 2017

In the Luxury Apparel space, only five companies met the criteria to be mentioned. Besting these few was Nordstrom with just over $10.3 billion in sales (excluding Nordstrom Rack) and an almost negligible drop in comp sales. Neiman Marcus, which tumbled six slots to No. 86 in the overall list, was next with $4.8 billion. Saks/Lord & Taylor was next with $3.6 billion, sales that boosted it from 67 last year to 84 in 2017.

NRF Top 100 Retailer List 2017

Though it’s not ranked as an apparel retailer, it’s important to note that Amazon’s apparel sales—through third parties and direct—were estimated to be $22 billion for 2016. This places it just a hair behind Macy’s, which racked up $22.1 billion.

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