Wal-Mart still tops ‘most powerful retailers’ list

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Retailers had a challenging 2009, and the top 100 most powerful retailers list reflects that – with discount stores moving up the list and some other stores moving down the stores.org annual compilation.

There’s no surprise in the number one slot, however. Wal-Mart, the behemoth headquartered in Bentonville, Ark., kept the top position. Grocery store chain Kroger was second and Target came in at number three.

Walgreen’s, which now has stores in all 50 states, ranked number four, and Costco was number five.

But thanks to the recession, Dollar General, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree moved up in the rankings – but none of them has yet cracked the top 10.

“Every economic downturn creates new opportunities for companies to put their best foot forward,” said Susan Reda, Editor, STORES Media. “What’s most notable however, is the fact that the majority of America’s biggest brands managed to hold on to their top spots on the list, even with consumer confidence and discretionary spending both taking a hit the last few years.”

Last year proved to be a tough one for brick-and-mortar stores, while e-commerce managed to squeak through with slightly better profit margins.

“It was very challenging,” said Mary Beth Whitfield, senior vice president of Kantar Retail. “The consumer was very anxious … and tended to shop on a need-to-buy rather than a want-to-buy basis.”