Despite a slew of negative headlines, bricks and mortar still dominate the retail space, with the report finding traditional retailers accounted for 90 per cent of retail sales.
What is evident, however, is the innovation that continues to drive the industry as it adapts to a world of digital consumerism in a technological age.
Here’s an insight into the Top 10 retailers in the US in terms of sales.
No 1 – Walmart
With 5263 outlets and $387.66 billion in sales last year, Walmart retains its position as the top retailer in the US.
NRF’s Stores Magazine notes the retailer has found its comfort zone in the world of Amazon and is now more confident in its position as the real-world alternative.
Walmart has also spent the past 12 months improving its offering, remodelling 500 stores with brighter lighting, wider aisles and self-service checkouts while testing initiatives like interactive displays, artificial intelligence to help monitor stock levels and store cleaning robots.
No 2 – Amazon
Amazon now features 490 stores with $120.93 billion in retail sales in 2018, indicating around 6 per cent growth in the year prior.
Stores magazine explains the retailer is “moving in several directions at once”.
“In bricks-and-mortar, there are plans for a new supermarket concept outside the boundaries of Whole Foods Market to be launched in the Los Angeles area. Online, Amazon is cutting back on sales to consumers in favour of allowing third-party Marketplace vendors to handle those chores.”
No 3 – Kroger
Kroger is the nation’s largest supermarket operator, with 3035 outlets and $120.93 billion in sales.
For the past few years, the chain has had a major focus on big data and automation to handle its online order fulfilment, Stores notes.
“Kroger says it has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on its online operation, including expanding store pickup locations for online order and grocery delivery service. Along with others, it’s also working on driverless technology and experimenting with autonomous grocery delivery; Kroger currently works with Instacart delivery service at about 1600 locations.”
Meanwhile, inside its outlets, the retailer has embraced initiatives like digital shelving and mobile apps.
No 4 – Costco
In the fourth position is wholesaler Costco, who last year recorded $101.43 billion in sales courtesy of 523 outlets.
The retailer continues to defy the online trend with strong foot traffic and customer loyalty.
“A major plus for the company is that consumers love to shop at its stores,” Store Magazine notes, and foot traffic is “as strong as it’s ever been.”
Known for the pride it takes in its company culture, Costco recently stole the customer satisfaction index crown from Amazon, who had held this position since 2010.
No 5 – Walgreen’s Boot Alliance
With 9451 store-fronts, pharmacy chain Walgreens is among the two largest retailers in terms of outlets to feature in the Top 10 list, boasting $98.39 billion in sales in 2018.
It hasn’t been an easy ride, however. Stores Magazine reflects Walgreens has been “been buffeted of late as a result of the volatility enveloping the health care industry”.
The retailer is currently focused on initiatives like increasing the speed of prescription medication home deliveries and in-store medical services.
No 6 – The Home Depot
The Home Depot is currently courting the professional customer, with digital technology, mobile apps and onsite delivery.
Last year this saw them achieve $97.27 billion in sales from 1969 outlets, despite being impacted by bad weather.
No 7 – CVS
Like Walgreens, CVS has felt the impact of changes to the healthcare sector and is combatting that through same-day prescription delivery and instore medical services.
CVS currently boasts 9954 outlets, which resulted in $83.79 billion in sales last year.
No 8 – Target
Smaller footprint stores are the present focus for Target, who last year achieved $74.48 billion in sales from 1844 outlets.
Stores Magazine explains the retailer is looking to open 30 of these smaller stores in 2019 as it also works to revamp its larger outlets with convenient features like grab and go food items.
No 9 – Lowe’s
No 10 – Albertsons
In 10th position is Albertsons with 2249 outlets and $59.71 billion in sales. Their recent focus has been technology in a bid to improve the customer experience.
“The company is using Microsoft cloud capabilities to shorten waiting times at butcher and deli counters, at checkout and even outside the store at the gas pumps. AI is used to anticipate out-of-stock situations and detect items misplaced on shelves,” Stores notes.
You can find the full list of the Top 100 stores for 2019 at stores.org