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The Thriving Top 50 Retailers: A Glimpse into Unprecedented Growth

In the ever-evolving world of retail, the spotlight shines brightly on the Top 50 retailers with the highest Compound Annual Growth Rates (CAGR) in revenue from FY2016 to FY2021. These trailblazing companies have not only navigated the challenges posed by the shifting tides of consumer behavior but have also harnessed M&A strategies and digital transformation to accelerate their growth.

Remarkable New Entrants

A noteworthy development this year is the inclusion of 16 new retailers in the prestigious Fastest 50 rankings. Among these newcomers, five luxury retail brands have made a significant mark. The Fastest 50 represents the cream of the crop, showcasing retailers who have achieved remarkable CAGR figures that outshine their peers in the global Top 250 list. On a sales-weighted, currency-adjusted composite basis, the Fastest 50 achieved a staggering 20.1% year-on-year growth, more than doubling the 8.5% growth recorded for the Top 250.

Deciphering Consumer Behavior

Examining the composition of the Fastest 50 provides invaluable insights into the ever-evolving landscape of consumer behavior. Notably, the Fastest 50 features a disproportionately higher number of hardline and leisure goods, apparel and accessories retailers, reflecting the shifts in consumer spending patterns. These shifts are partly attributed to the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions in 2021.

The year 2021 witnessed a notable surge in the inclusion of home improvement retailers, department stores, apparel/footwear stores, and cash & carry/warehouse club retailers within the Fastest 50. This came at the expense of a decline in the number of supermarkets, drugstore/pharmacy chains, discount stores, and convenience/forecourt stores in the ranking.

Asia’s Phenomenal Growth

Asia, a dynamic retail hub, has taken center stage within the Fastest 50 rankings. Alibaba, the Hong Kong-based online retail giant, claimed the top spot with a remarkable 153.1% CAGR in retail sales for the period from FY2016 to FY2021. In FY2021 alone, Alibaba’s growth soared by 42.7%, building on the strong 94.3% growth recorded in the preceding year. It’s worth noting that Alibaba wasn’t included in the Fastest 50 ranking in previous years due to a lack of historical data.

Coupang, a leading South Korean e-commerce retailer, secured the third position this year, showcasing the enduring strength of Asian retailers. Reliance Retail, an Indian supermarket retailer, posted an impressive 45.1% CAGR in retail sales and a year-on-year growth of 24.3%. The key to their success lies in record-breaking grocery sales across both brick-and-mortar stores and digital channels.

China’s online retail specialist,, made significant strides by climbing two positions in the Top 250 ranking, primarily fueled by a robust 25.1% growth in retail revenue.

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Digital Strategies

M&A activity and digital strategies have played pivotal roles in the growth stories of several Fastest 50 retailers. The UK’s EG Group, known for its convenience stores, quick-service restaurants (QSR), and filling stations, witnessed a retail sales surge of 14.4% in its European segment. This was catalyzed by acquisitions that included foodservice brands like LEON and Cooplands in 2021. In FY2021, EG Group further expanded its portfolio by acquiring Sprint Food Stores, a chain of 34 convenience stores in South Carolina and Georgia, and the OMV-branded service station network in Germany from OMV Deutschland.

Brazil’s Natura & Co and The Body Shop both embarked on digital transformation journeys that fueled their growth. Natura & Co introduced a range of digital strategies, including cross-border mini-programs on China’s WeChat and South Korea’s Kakao Talk, enabling consumers to make direct purchases via the app. The Body Shop, on the other hand, transitioned into an omni-channel model in FY2021, with online sales more than doubling compared to pre-pandemic seasons in 2019.

Diving Deeper into Growth Stories

For an in-depth exploration of the strategic decisions that propelled these Fastest 50 companies to unprecedented growth, download the full Global Powers of Retailing 2023 report. This comprehensive report not only provides insights into the Fastest 50 but also delves into the Top 250 retailers, offering a nuanced analysis of performance across geographies and product sectors. Additionally, it examines the intriguing realm of sustainability and the future landscape of retail stores.

Join us in unraveling these captivating stories of growth, sustainability, and innovation. We eagerly await the opportunity to connect and delve deeper into these dynamic narratives with you.

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