Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Kroger triumph in Top 100 retailers list

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Retail giant Wal-Mart, home-improvement chain Home Depot and grocery chain Kroger have topped the list of Stores Magazine Top 100 Retailers ranking.

The annual report, conducted by Stores, the monthly magazine of the National Retail Federation, ranks companies in all segments by revenue.

Bentonville, AR-based Wal-Mart again ranked No. 1 with 2006 revenues of $348.65 billion, an 11.7 percent increase over the previous year. Wal-Mart's revenues were greater than those of the next five largest US retailers combined.

Home Depot and Kroger retained their second and third spots, respectively. Despite a troubled year, which saw the departure of CEO Robert Nardelli, Home Depot gained 11.4 percent in total revenues in 2006. Kroger's 2006 sales rose 9.2 percent over 2005 to $66.11 billion.

Costco came in at No. 4, up from last year's fifth place, thanks to increasing its private-label offerings with a new line of food conceptualized by Martha Stewart. Costco's revenues increased 13.6 percent in 2006 to $60.15 billion.

Mass merchants Target and Sears came in fifth and sixth. Target advanced a spot in the ranking with a revenue increase of 13.1 percent to $59.49 billion. Sears dropped two spots despite a 7.9 percent revenue increase to $53.01 billion.

Drug stores are also represented in the top 10. Walgreens rose one spot to No. 7 after aggressively adding freestanding store locations and focusing on front-end merchandise. CVS, which took ninth place and is a new entry to the top-10 list, acquired Caremark Rx in an attempt to upgrade pharmacy services.

Other companies in the top 10 include Lowe's, which dropped one spot to No. 8, and Safeway, which retained its spot at No. 10.

A significant change in this year's top 100 is the inclusion of restaurant companies. The ranking is based on corporate revenues rather than systemwide sales, meaning that income from franchises are not included. Six restaurants appeared on the list this year, including McDonald's at No. 16, Yum Brands (which includes KFC and Taco Bell) at No. 35, Starbucks at No. 42, Darden Restaurants (which includes Olive Garden and Red Lobster) at No. 53, Brinker International (which includes Chili's and Maggiano's) at No. 73 and Outback Steakhouse at No. 80.

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