WASHINGTON-- One of the hottest areas in retailing right now is groceries, the result of food price inflation and contraction among supermarket operators, according to the annual "Hot 100 Retailer" ranking by STORES, the publication the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Sprouts Farmers Market topped the 2012 list. Sprouts is joined by Lowe's Market Place in the Top 10 of this year's hottest retailers, and is one of nearly 20 supermarket chains on the Hot 100 chart. Also included are Kroger, the nation's largest operator of traditional supermarkets; national chains Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's and Aldi; and regional giants Publix and H-E-B.
Meanwhile, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets, the West Coast small-footprint grocery format of U.K. giant Tesco Plc that has created some degree of anxiety for the convenience industry in recent years, came in at No. 11 on the list.
Convenience retailers, while not placing in the top 10, acquitted themselves nicely in the Hot 100 ranking.
Highest on the list is 7-Eleven Inc., Dallas, at No. 17. Others included Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.'s Circle K, Tempe, Ariz., at No. 20; Casey's General Stores Inc., Ankeny, Iowa, at No. 30; Cumberland Farms, Framingham, Mass., at No. 33; Susser's Stripes, Corpus Christi, Texas, at No. 59; Sheetz Inc., Altoona, Pa., at No. 92; QuikTrip Corp., Tulsa, Okla., at No. 98.
Several dollar store changes also made the list, as did national drug store chain Walgreens.
The retailers are ranked by sales growth 2011 vs. 2010.
Click here to view the complete Hot 100 Retailers chart.