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  • Andrea Lillo

Discounters drive retail growth

Andrea Lillo, Staff Staff -- Home Textiles Today, July 20, 2001

New York — Value-driven retailers led the way again as the fastest-growing distribution channel to watch, as the slow economy continues to impact the retail environment.

As consumers decide against purchases in apparel and luxury, they flock instead to the discounters for their everyday supplies, favoring the moderate price points instead. And that trend is seen in Home Textiles Today's latest compilation of the top 10 retailers in four categories — net sales growth in home textiles; percentage growth in home textiles; net unit growth; and percentage unit growth — following the release of the Top 50 retailers in home textiles last week.

Of the 10 spots on each of the four lists, discounters filled up almost half, while only two department stores —the mass market department store chain Kohl's and Saks' Carson Pirie Scott — placed on the lists. Specialty stores, supercenters and catalogs made up the rest.

Four retailers of note — Bed Bath & Beyond, Linens 'N Things, Kohl's and Family Dollar — were on every list.

Growth in the past year was difficult for many retailers, given the economic turmoil. Some familiar players from 1999's fastest-growing retailer lists are not found on this year's: JCPenney; Ames; Pier 1 Imports; ShopKo; Fred Meyer; Ikea and Blair. However, they still ranked on the Top 50 for 2000, with the exception of catalog and direct mail marketer Blair Corp.

Three discounters debuted on both the Top 50 and the lists for unit growth for 2000. Dollar General slid easily into first place as the retailer with the largest number of added store units, with Big Lots and Tuesday Morning also positioning themselves on that list. Dollar General and Tuesday Morning also ranked on the top 10 retailers for percent unit growth.

Bed Bath & Beyond again led the group for the largest net sales growth last year, with a $296.0 million increase gain for a grand total of $1.318 billion. Target fell into second place again, with $194.0 million, for its total of $1.759 billion. Linens 'N Things outdid Wal-Mart this year, with $139.0 million, compared to Wal-Mart's $114.0 million, to take third place, with Wal-Mart coming in fourth. Kohl's leapfrogged over Kmart's $63.0 million gain with a $99.0 million increase in home textiles sales for a fifth-place finish, up from seventh in 1999.

Burlington Coat Factory's Luxury Linens division added $46.2 million to its home textiles sales for 2000, a 21.8 percent gain from the prior year. Hanover Direct's The Company Store followed behind closely with $44.0 million, placing eighth. Family Dollar and Spiegel rounded out the list with $36.6 million and $34.0 million, respectively.

For percent of sales growth in home textiles, however, The Company Store catalog jumped into first place with its $44 million increase, a 44 percent increase for a total of $144.0 million. Kohl's followed behind at second with a 30.8 percent gain, for a total of $420.0 million in home textiles sales.

In third, Bed Bath experienced a 29.0 percent climb in sales growth last year.

Stein Mart followed in fourth place with a 22.4 percent increase for a total of $120.0 million. Luxury Linens came in fifth at 21.8 percent, and Carson Pirie Scott had a 20.3 percent gain for sixth place.

Linens 'N Things came in next, with an 18 percent gain for a total of $913 million in sales. Ross Dress for Less Stores grew 16.5 percent in this category for a total of $134.0 million. Spiegel and Family Dollar followed in ninth and 10th place, with 16.2 percent and 16.1 percent, respectively.

Two dollar stores topped the list for the largest net unit growth. Dollar General, a newcomer to the Top 50 list, came in first with 707 additional units for a 2000 total of 5,001. Family Dollar added 376 stores last year for a total of 3,833 locations. Wal-Mart came in third with 102 units for a total of 2,624.

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