16 new retailers entered the fastest 50 this year, including 5 luxury retailer brands. The fastest 50 are the 50 retailers in the global top 250 with the highest compound annual growth rates (CAGR) in revenue for the period FY2016 to FY2021. On a sales-weighted, currency-adjusted composite basis, the fastest 50 grew by 20.1% year-on-year, more than double the 8.5% growth for the top 250.
Looking at the fastest 50 gives us an insight into consumer behaviour. The number of hardline and leisure goods as well as apparel and accessories retailers is disproportionately larger in the fastest 50 than in the top 250. It seems the shift in consumer spending is partly the result of relaxation of Covid restrictions. In 2021, there was a shift towards the addition of home improvement retailers, department stores, apparel/footwear stores and cash & carry/warehouse club retailers in the fastest 50, taking away from the number of supermarkets, drugstore/pharmacies, discount stores and convenience/forecourt stores in the ranking.
The fastest 50 show some interesting trends coming out of Asia. Hong-Kong-based online retailer Alibaba topped the rankings, posting a 153.1% CAGR in retail sales for FY2016-2021, growing by 42.7% in FY2021 alone on top of the strong 94.3% growth seen in the prior year. Alibaba was not included in the Fastest 50 ranking in the prior years due to a lack of availability of historic data. Last year’s top ranking was for Coupang, a leading South Korean e-commerce retailer. This year, Coupang ranked as the third-fastest grower. Indian supermarket retailer Reliance Retail, recorded retail sales growth at a CAGR of 45.1% in addition to growing year-on-year by 24.3%. The key to their success lies in their record grocery sales in both their brick-and-mortar stores and their digital channels. China’s online retail specialist JD.com climbed 2 positions the Top 250 ranking, as a result of its 25.1% growth in retail revenue.
M&A activity and digital strategies played a role for several of the fastest growers. EG Group, a UK convenience store retailer as well as a QSR and filling station provider, recorded retail sales fueled by its European segment, which grew by 14.4%, boosted by the acquisitions of foodservice brands LEON and Cooplands in 2021. The group completed multiple additional acquisitions in FY2021 which included Sprint Food Stores in November 2021, a portfolio of 34 convenience stores in South Carolina and Georgia, in addition to the OMV-branded service station network in Germany from OMV Deutschland.
For both Brazilian personal care cosmetics group Natura & Co, and The Body Shop, digital transformation was the key to growth. Natura & Co launched several digital strategies including a cross-border mini-program on China’s WeChat and South Korea’s Kakao Talk that allowed consumers to buy products directly on the app. The Body Shop transitioned into omni-channel in FY2021, with online sales more than doubling for the brand compared to pre-pandemic seasons in 2019.
The full report zooms in further on some of the companies ranked as the fastest 50 growers. What are some of the strategic decisions that led to their growth? Download the full Global Powers of Retailing 2023 report to find out more about these fastest 50, and also about the top 250, an analysis of performance across geographies and product sectors. The report also explores what retailers are doing in the field of sustainability and creating the future of the store.
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