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50 biggest retailers in America

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machu. // Flickr

50 biggest retailers in America

It’s impossible to talk about retail in the United States without discussing the elephant in the room: Amazon. Though it hasn’t overtaken Walmart for the top slot, Amazon’s Prime Membership program and domination of the e-commerce sphere has caused ripple effects across the country. Borders Books & Music in 1994 generated more than $1.5 billion in sales: just one year before Amazon sold its first book. Now, Borders is but a memory while Amazon has become one of the most valuable companies on the planet.

Some companies have done better than others in adapting to the changing face of retail. Best Buy was singled out by several publications for adapting to the Amazon threat, implementing price matching and prioritizing customer relationships. Amazon, meanwhile, is pouring billions into Amazon Studios, hoping to establish a deeper connection with its consumers. J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Macy’s, meanwhile, are just two examples of rapidly declining businesses, edged out of key markets by more shrewd competitors.

With "Searsageddon" happening in real time with new rounds of layoffs in August 2019, it’s important to take a periodic look at the companies dominating retail in the country, from auto parts stores to grocery and pharmacy chains. It’s also inspiring to hear about the humble origins of the world’s largest companies; many of them began as single stores, established with small loans, which were then able to diversify and franchise until they embedded themselves into American culture.

Stacker has compiled a list of the 50 biggest retailers in the country, using retail sales data from Kantar, displayed on STORES. Each retailer is ranked by its 2018 retail sales in billions, and the number of stores in 2018. The U.S. headquarters location is provided, as well.

Read on to find out which beloved grocery store operates in a single state, and which founder literally had “Cash” as a middle name.

You may also like: 25 biggest pharmaceutical companies and what they make

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PCHS-NJROTC // Wikimedia Commons

#50. AutoZone

- 2018 retail sales: $9.46 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 5,552
- U.S. headquarters location: Memphis, TN

Though its headquarters are located in Memphis, AutoZone operates more than 6,000 stores across the United States, Mexico, and Brazil, selling aftermarket car parts and accessories. Under the leadership of William C. Rhodes III, CEO and president since 2005 and chairman since 2007, AutoZone’s stock has increased more than 100% over the past five years.

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Ente75 // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Southeastern Grocers (BI-LO)

- 2018 retail sales: $9.48 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 654
- U.S. headquarters location: Jacksonville, FL

Southeastern Grocers is a portfolio of supermarket chains operating in the southeastern United States, including BI-LO, Harveys, Winn-Dixie, and Fresco y Más that was created in 2013. Before that, BI-LO faced financial challenges, declaring chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009. The rocky period is far from over; in 2018 Southeastern Grocers again filed for Chapter 11, announcing 94 store closures in March 2018. Though it emerged from the bankruptcy reorganization process intact, the chain announced 22 more closures in February 2019.

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5Ohms // Shutterstock

#48. O’Reilly Auto Parts

- 2018 retail sales: $9.54 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 5,219
- U.S. headquarters location: Springfield, MO

O’Reilly’s is the product of Charles F. O’Reilly, the son of an Irish immigrant who left Ireland in the aftermath of the potato famine, and his son Charles H. O’Reilly. From one store in 1957, O’Reilly Auto Parts now sells aftermarket car parts in over 5,000 stores in 47 states. Under the leadership of CEO and co-president Greg Johnson, O’Reilly’s in August 2019 announced it was acquiring Mexican auto parts chain Mayasa.

 

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Bukhta Yurii // Shutterstock

#47. Good Neighbor Pharmacy

- 2018 retail sales: $9.58 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 2,962
- U.S. headquarters location: Chesterbrook, PA

A retailers’ cooperative network consisting of 4,500 brick-and-mortar pharmacies across the country, Good Neighbor Pharmacy was recently ranked #1 for customer satisfaction among similar chains by a J.D. Power survey. That’s good news at a time when the e-pharmacy business, by which consumers purchase pills online and have them shipped to their homes, is expected to grow significantly in the coming decade.

 

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Mike Mozart // Flickr

#46. Burger King Worldwide

- 2018 retail sales: $9.94 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 7,362
- U.S. headquarters location: Miami, FL

Headquartered in Miami, Burger King ranks among the largest fast-food chains in the world. Originally founded as “Insta-Burger King,” the chain came out with its signature menu item, the Whopper, in 1957. In 2019, the franchise announced that its “Impossible Whopper,” a version of the Whopper made with a vegetable patty from the startup Impossible Foods, would be available nationwide, courting more health and environmentally conscious customers.

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J. Reed // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Chick-fil-A

- 2018 retail sales: $10.00 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 2,102
- U.S. headquarters location: Atlanta, GA

With more than double the sales of its nearest competitor in the chicken market, KFC, Chick-fil-A is far and away the biggest chicken chain in the United States and the third-largest restaurant brand overall. Chick-fil-A is known for its food and for the religious convictions of its founder, S. Truett Cathy, a devout Southern Baptist; the store is closed on Sundays. The chain is run by his son, Dan T. Cathy, who is president, CEO, and chairman; the family has courted controversy for its donations to anti-LGBTQ+ organizations.

 

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Dean Hochman // Flickr

#44. Hy-Vee

- 2018 retail sales: $10.15 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 250
- U.S. headquarters location: West Des Moines, IA

The second supermarket chain on this list, Hy-Vee caters to Midwestern America, operating in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. A contraction of the last names of its founders, Charles Hyde and David Vredenburg, Hy-Vee has been employee-owned since 1960, when the company established the Employees’ Trust Fund.

 

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baibaz // Shutterstock

#43. Subway / Doctor's Associates

- 2018 retail sales: $10.42 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 26,932
- U.S. headquarters location: Milford, CT

Out of all the corporations on this list, Subway has the most locations in the United States and is nearly 10,000 stores ahead of its nearest competitor, Yum! Brands Inc. Established in 1965, "Pete's Super Submarines” was organized under a new parent company, Doctor’s Associates, the following year; its name a reference to one of its founders' desire to go to medical school, and the other’s doctorate in physics. Despite the scandalous arrest of Jared Fogle, its former spokesman, on child pornography charges, the franchise continues to rank among the fastest-growing retailers in the world.

 

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Bildflut // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Health Mart Systems

- 2018 retail sales: $10.62 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 4,953
- U.S. headquarters location: Omaha, NE

Like Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Health Mart Systems is a network of nearly 5,000 brick-and-mortar pharmacies across the United States and is a subsidiary of McKesson Corp., a large pharmaceutical company. Health Mart is the nation’s fastest-growing pharmacy franchise and came in second to Good Neighbor Pharmacy in a customer satisfaction survey conducted by J.D. Power.

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Ginsuguy // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Qurate Retail

- 2018 retail sales: $11.34 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: -
- U.S. headquarters location: Englewood, CO

Formerly known as Liberty Interactive, Qurate is a media conglomerate that has been run by chairman John C. “Cable Cowboy” Malone since 1998. The corporation is best known for QVC and HSN, television channels that sell products to its viewers.

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photo stella // Shutterstock

#40. L Brands

- 2018 retail sales: $11.34 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 2,722
- U.S. headquarters location: Columbus, OH

L Brands is a fashion retailer known for its flagship brands Victoria’s Secret, specializing in lingerie, and Bath & Body Works, which sells soap and other bath products. The corporation has been run by CEO Leslie “Les” Wexner since its inception in 1963, making him the longest-serving CEO on the Fortune 500. Recently, Wexner’s ties to financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was arrested on charges of sex trafficking this past July and who was determined to have committed suicide in jail, caused L Brands' stock to slide.

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Mike Mozart // Flickr

#39. J.C. Penney Company

- 2018 retail sales: $11.66 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 864
- U.S. headquarters location: Plano, TX

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. operates nearly 1,000 stores across the United States; not bad for a company whose founder’s middle name was “Cash.” James Cash Penney was born in 1875 and founded the department store chain in 1902. In recent years, the corporation has struggled with the rise of Amazon, sudden dismissal of its CEO in 2018, and dated stores.

 

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Andrew Bell // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Menard

- 2018 retail sales: $11.69 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 310
- U.S. headquarters location: Eau Claire, WI

Founded by John Menard Jr. in 1960, Menard Inc. now operates 310 Menards home-improvement stores across the Midwest, making it the third-largest such chain in the United States. In 2018, it ranked #1 in J.D. Power’s survey of customer satisfaction for home-improvement retailers.

 

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Fastily // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Bed Bath & Beyond

- 2018 retail sales: $12.23 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 1,481
- U.S. headquarters location: Union, NJ

Bed Bath & Beyond, which operates stores across the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Puerto Rico, was founded in 1971 by Warren Eisenberg and Leonard Feinstein. The publicly traded chain has faced a rough time recently, with shares hitting a 20-year low; according to interim CEO Mary Winston, the company “has not kept pace with how the customer has evolved and how consumers shop today.”

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Xnatedawgx // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Alimentation Couche-Tard

- 2018 retail sales: $12.46 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 6,872
- U.S. headquarters location: Tempe, AZ

Alimentation Couche-Tard operates thousands of convenience stores in the United States under the brands Corner Store, Circle K, Holiday, and Kangaroo Express, with more stores in Canada, Europe, Mexico, Japan, China, and Indonesia. The French name translates as “night-owl food.”

 

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Sorbis // Shutterstock

#35. Gap

- 2018 retail sales: $12.88 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 2,296
- U.S. headquarters location: San Francisco, CA

Founded by Donald Fisher and his wife Doris—who named the company after the generation gap—in 1969, Gap Inc. is known for its variety of clothing across six divisions: Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta, Intermix, and Hill City. Over its 50 years of operation, Gap has grown to 135,000 employees located in franchise locations around the world and in February 2019 announced its brand Old Navy will be spun off into an independent company.

 

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Mike Mozart // Flickr

#34. BJ's Wholesale Club

- 2018 retail sales: $13.01 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 217
- U.S. headquarters location: Westborough, MA

Named after Beverly Jean Weich, the daughter of its president Mervyn Weich, BJ’s was established by the defunct discount store chain Zayre in 1984, and now operates stores throughout the East Coast and in Ohio. The smaller of the two members-only discount retailers on this list, BJ’s went public for the second time in the summer of 2018 after previously being taken private in 2011.

 

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Thayne Tuason // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Ross Stores

- 2018 retail sales: $14.96 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 1,715
- U.S. headquarters location: Pleasanton, CA

Ross Stores is the company behind Ross Dress For Less, a chain of discount department stores headquartered outside the Bay Area, near where the first store opened in 1950 by Morris Ross. Though he sold the store eight years later, the 1,715 U.S. locations still bear his name; so far, the chain in 2019 has performed well compared with other retailers.

 

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Michael Gordon // Shutterstock

#32. Nordstrom

- 2018 retail sales: $15.06 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 366
- U.S. headquarters location: Seattle, WA

Traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol JWN, after its namesake John W. Nordstrom, Nordstrom is a high-end retailer that operates stores across the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada. Its stock price recently jumped after it outperformed analysts’ expectations for the quarter, and the company plans to open its first women-only store in New York City later this year.

 

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Roman Tiraspolsky // Shutterstock

#31. Rite Aid

- 2018 retail sales: $15.83 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 2,550
- U.S. headquarters location: Camp Hill, PA

Founded in Scranton, Penn., in 1962 under the name “Thrift D Discount Center,” Rite Aid went public under its current name in 1968. Rite Aid was almost purchased by Walgreens in 2015 for $9.4 billion, but because of antitrust issues only around half of stores were eventually sold to Walgreens in March 2018.

 

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Mike Mozart // Flickr

#30. AT&T Wireless

- 2018 retail sales: $16.41 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 2,004
- U.S. headquarters location: Dallas, TX

AT&T is generally known as the world’s largest telecommunications company, along with being the parent company of WarnerMedia, the world’s largest media company based on revenue. However, the company also operates 2,004 retail stores across the United States, and is even developing 5G-equipped robots that would work to increase productivity in its stores.

 

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Omio Asad // Wikimedia Commons

#29. 7-Eleven

- 2018 retail sales: $16.51 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 8,951
- U.S. headquarters location: Dallas, TX

Originally named “Tote’m Stores” at the time of its founding in 1927, the chain changed to its current name in 1946 to represent its hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day of the week, though most locations now are open 24 hours. The store is currently experimenting with an app that lets you buy an item with your mobile phone, without ever talking to a cashier.

 

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John Arehart // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Wakefern / Shoprite

- 2018 retail sales: $16.57 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 352
- U.S. headquarters location: Keasbey, NJ

Hy-Vee, you may recall, was named after the combination of its two founders’ names. Wakefern is similarly a portmanteau, but of six founders: W for Louis Weiss, A for Sam and Al Aidekman, K for Abe Kesselman, E for Leo Eisenberg, and FERN for Dave Fern. The stores have gone by the name ShopRite since 1951, five years after the group’s founding, but Wakefern is the nation’s largest supermarket group, consisting of 50 member companies operating 352 stores.

 

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Mike Mozart // Flickr

#27. Ace Hardware

- 2018 retail sales: $17.32 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 4,426
- U.S. headquarters location: Oak Brook, IL

While Wakefern is the nation’s largest grocery store cooperative, Ace Hardware is the largest cooperative that doesn’t sell food. The business has more than 5,000 locations in 60 countries. Named for the tenacity of World War I fighter pilots, Ace received the J.D. Power award for “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Home Improvement Retail Stores” 12 out of the past 13 years.

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machu. // Flickr

#26. Starbucks

- 2018 retail sales: $17.41 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 13,172
- U.S. headquarters location: Seattle, WA

Named after Starbuck, the first mate in “Moby-Dick” and the reason for the siren logo, the Starbucks chain was led for 30 years by CEO Howard Schultz, who has flirted with a run for U.S. president. Known for its coffee, along with its specialty drinks like the pumpkin spice latte, Starbucks is looking to China for its next wave of expansion.

 

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Librarian 1974 // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Meijer

- 2018 retail sales: $17.69 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 242
- U.S. headquarters location: Grand Rapids, MI

Meijer is a Midwestern supermarket chain operating 242 stores across Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Named for its founding family, Meijer has been recognized for its environmental friendliness and focus on diversity and inclusion when hiring staff.

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DangApricot // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Yum! Brands

- 2018 retail sales: $18.63 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 17,504
- U.S. headquarters location: Louisville, KY

Yum! Brands isn’t an instantly recognizable name, but its properties, which include Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, and WingStreet, are well known to millions of Americans. Its 17,504 U.S. stores are a minority of its more than 43,000 stores worldwide. The company originally spun off from PepsiCo into Tricon Global Restaurants in 1997, rebranding as Yum! in 2002. The CEO for the past four years, Greg Creed, announced his retirement on Aug. 20 this year.

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Arne Beruldsen // Shutterstock

#23. Kohl's

- 2018 retail sales: $19.17 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 1,175
- U.S. headquarters location: Menomonee Falls, WI

Polish immigrant Maxwell Kohl’s first grocery store (and later, department stores) was founded in 1927, though it was 65 years until the company went public in 1992, long after the Kohl family left the company. Operating department stores in every U.S. state except Hawaii, Kohl’s recently announced a new program to accept Amazon returns in its stores, which the company hopes will drive sales.

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Mike Mozart // Flickr

#22. Verizon Wireless

- 2018 retail sales: $22.26 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 6,839
- U.S. headquarters location: New York, NY

Though Verizon is the second-biggest telecommunications provider in the United States, it beats AT&T in retail sales. Recently, Verizon Communications, Verizon Wireless’s parent company, was in the news for its sale of the blogging and social networking site Tumblr for a reported $3 million, a catastrophic drop from the $1.1 billion purchase price in 2013.

 

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Mike Mozart // Flickr

#21. Dollar Tree

- 2018 retail sales: $22.48 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 15,012
- U.S. headquarters location: Chesapeake, VA

Dollar Tree Stores Inc. is a nationwide chain of discount stores, many of them offering every item for $1 before tax. Operating stores under the brands Dollar Tree, Dollar Bills, and Family Tree, Dollar Tree has recently come under fire for alleged predatory practices in low-income neighborhoods, stifling local businesses and preventing the opening of supermarkets.

 

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Nathan Huth // Flickr

#20. H.E. Butt Grocery

- 2018 retail sales: $24.02 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 333
- U.S. headquarters location: San Antonio, TX

If you’ve never been to Texas, odds are you’ve never heard of H-E-B, though the supermarket chain is beloved; it’s been called the “cultiest cult grocer in America.” The company was founded by the Butt family in 1905.

 

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Ian Gratton // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Macy's

- 2018 retail sales: $24.90 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 867
- U.S. headquarters location: Cincinnati, OH

Though Macy’s flagship store in New York City no longer holds the title of the largest department store in the world, it’s still the largest in the United States, with 1.25 million square feet of retail space. Macy’s dates back to 1851, when Rowland Hussey Macy opened the first Macy’s store in Massachusetts. The publicly traded company has faced financial issues recently, with the stock hitting a 10-year low in August.

 

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ccpixx photography // Shutterstock

#18. Dollar General

- 2018 retail sales: $25.63 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 15,472
- U.S. headquarters location: Goodlettsville, TN

Dollar General operates a network of discount variety stores across the country, and has been called “rural America’s store of choice” by the Wall Street Journal. Like Dollar Tree, Dollar General targets low-income and rural areas for its stores, serving customers who have been passed over by other major retailers. In response to new technology, the store is adopting new processes like a mobile check out and a “cart calculator” app that helps patrons keep track of their totals.

 

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Mike Mozart // Flickr

#17. ALDI

- 2018 retail sales: $28.78 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 2,386
- U.S. headquarters location: Batavia, IL

Aldi, stylized as ALDI, is a German-based discount supermarket chain founded by two brothers, Karl and Theo Albrecht, in 1946; the name comes from a concatenation of “Albrecht” and the German word for “discount.” Following a spat over cigarette sales, the company split in two: one brother got the north with Aldi Nord, and the other got the south with Aldi Sür. Though Aldi Sür operates the Aldi stores in the United States, it’s Aldi Nord that acquired Trader Joe’s in 1979.

 

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Mike Mozart // Flickr

#16. TJX Companies

- 2018 retail sales: $29.59 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 3,092
- U.S. headquarters location: Framingham, MA

If you remember the defunct discount store change Zayre from slide 18, you get bonus points for paying close attention: After selling off the Zayre name, the company was left with only T.J. Maxx, and it expanded from there. Now TJX operates HomeGoods, HomeSense, Marshalls, and Sierra, along with T.J. Maxx in the United States. TJX’s brands are performing well during a difficult time for retail, though their steam may be slowing down.

 

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Rusty Clark ~ 100K Photo // Flickr

#15. Publix Super Markets

- 2018 retail sales: $36.52 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 1,444
- U.S. headquarters location: Lakeland, FL

Publix ranks among the top regional grocery store chains, with stores operating in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia. The supermarket company was ranked highly on Fortune’s Best Companies To Work For list, and is publicly owned by current and former employees and the family of founder George W. Jenkins.

 

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Bikeworldtravel // Shutterstock

#14. McDonald's

- 2018 retail sales: $38.53 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 14,155
- U.S. headquarters location: Oak Brook, IL

It’s hard not to get the Pusha T-written jingle stuck in your head any time you pass the golden arches. The world’s largest restaurant chain by revenue, McDonald’s was founded by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald in California in 1940, though Ray Kroc, a fast-food tycoon, rightfully receives much of the credit for McDonald’s current international standing.

 

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Michael Gordon // Shutterstock

#13. Best Buy

- 2018 retail sales: $39.19 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 1,024
- U.S. headquarters location: Richfield, MN

Founded as Sound of Music, an audio equipment store, by Richard M. Schulze and James Wheeler in 1966, Best Buy got its current name after a rebranding in 1983. Since then, it has become the largest consumer electronics retailer, and has even fended off Amazon with shrewd strategy, including a price-matching promise.

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Paul Sableman // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Royal Ahold Delhaize USA

- 2018 retail sales: $43.80 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 1,958
- U.S. headquarters location: Carlisle, PA

Ahold Delhaize is a grocery store company based in the Netherlands, and operates stores across Europe and the United States. If that name doesn’t sound familiar, its main U.S. holdings are Stop & Shop, Giant Food, Hannaford, and Food Lion. The company launched Peapod, a grocery delivery service and early startup of the internet age, in 1996, though it now faces competition from AmazonFresh and Instacart.

 

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Pixabay

#11. Apple Stores / iTunes

- 2018 retail sales: $47.27 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 271
- U.S. headquarters location: Cupertino, CA

Out of all the companies on this list, it’s likely that Apple places the most thought into the design, layout, and location of its retail storefronts, which often have iconic designs like Apple’s glass box Fifth Avenue store in New York City. Apple Stores now offer, along with traditional retail and “Genius Bar” customer service, classes to learn how to use Apple products better, from iPhone cameras to professional video editing software.

 

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ccpixx photography // Shutterstock

#10. Albertsons Companies

- 2018 retail sales: $59.71 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 2,249
- U.S. headquarters location: Boise, ID

The second-largest grocery store chain on this list, Albertsons was established in 1939 by Joe Albertson in Boise, Idaho. Albertsons stores now span the United States, with notable subsidiaries including Safeway, which merged with the company in 2015; Acme Markets; Tom Thumb; and several others. Ever since a planned acquisition of Rite Aid fell through in 2018, Albertsons has no announced plans to go public, though it has tried several times in the past.

 

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Karolis Kavolelis // Shutterstock

#9. Lowe's Companies

- 2018 retail sales: $64.09 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 1,723
- U.S. headquarters location: Mooresville, NC

Not to be confused with Loews, the movie theater chain, or Loews, the hotel chain, Lowe’s is a home-improvement chain headquartered in Mooresville, N.C. The headquarters is located about an hour’s drive from the original Lowe's North Wilkesboro Hardware store, which was opened in 1921 by Lucius Smith Lowe. Though it suffered in the 1980s from competition with The Home Depot, Lowe’s may soon close in on its longtime rival.

 

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Sean Wandzilak / Shutterstock

#8. Target

- 2018 retail sales: $74.48 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 1,844
- U.S. headquarters location: Minneapolis, MN

The first Target store opened in Roseville, Minn., in 1962, a subsidiary of the Dayton Co. founded by George Dayton. In 2002, the parent company was rebranded as the Target Corp. as other subsidiaries were shed. In 2018, the Target Corp. had its best year in over a decade, winning customers away from other chains such as Macy’s and JCPenney.

 

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Jonathan Weiss // Shutterstock

#7. CVS Health Corporation

- 2018 retail sales: $83.79 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 9,954
- U.S. headquarters location: Woonsocket, RI

CVS, which stands for “consumer value stores,” was founded by brothers Stanley and Sidney Goldstein and Ralph Hoagland in 1963. Since then, the company has expanded its franchises of health, beauty, and pharmacy stores across the country. The corporation went public in 1996 and in 2018 acquired Aetna, the managed health care company.

 

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Fastily // Wikimedia Commons

#6. The Home Depot

- 2018 retail sales: $97.27 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 1,969
- U.S. headquarters location: Atlanta, GA

Located just three slides up from its rival, Lowe’s, The Home Depot is the leading home improvement retail chain in the United States. Operating stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, The Home Depot passed Lowe’s to become the biggest home improvement store in the country in 1989, eight years after going public. The company is worried its profits for the year will be affected by potential tariffs being considered by the Trump administration.

 

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Anthony92931 // Wikicommons

#5. Walgreens Boots Alliance

- 2018 retail sales: $98.39 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 9,451
- U.S. headquarters location: Deerfield, IL

The “Boots” in “Walgreens Boots Alliance” refers to a major pharmacy chain in the United Kingdom and Ireland; in the United States, the company operates Walgreens and Duane Reade retail pharmacy stores. The second-largest pharmacy chain in the United States, behind CVS Health, Walgreens began in 1901 as a single Chicago store run by Charles R. Walgreen. Recently, the company announced it would close 200 Walgreens stores in the United States, or less than 3% of its locations.

 

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Stu pendousmat // Wikicommons

#4. Costco

- 2018 retail sales: $101.43 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 523
- U.S. headquarters location: Issaquah, WA

Though it’s the fourth-largest retailer in the United States, Costco is second only to Walmart worldwide. The membership-only warehouse retailer was started in 1973 as Price Club by Sol Price and his son, Robert. In 2019, Costco has been outperforming the other major players in the industry.

 

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Kristi Blokhin // Shutterstock

#3. The Kroger Co.

- 2018 retail sales: $119.70 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 3,035
- U.S. headquarters location: Cincinnati, OH

Kroger is the largest supermarket chain in the United States by revenue, operating over 3,000 stores spanning 35 Midwestern and Southern states, as well as Washington D.C. Barney Kroger opened his first store in 1888, making Kroger one of the oldest companies on this list. Recently, Kroger has announced it’s pursuing a partnership with Walgreens whereby customers can pick up online Kroger orders at Walgreens locations.

 

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Hadrian // Shutterstock

#2. Amazon.com

- 2018 retail sales: $120.93 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 490
- U.S. headquarters location: Seattle, WA

Amazon has a particularly fascinating relationship with the average American; while many Americans shop at stores on its list, only at Amazon are 59% of U.S. households paying members. That Amazon Prime membership translates to free two-day shipping, free video streaming, and featured member deals. Amazon’s business also extends to the invisible: Much of the internet runs on Amazon Web Services servers. It’s this diversification, innovation, and pure scale that made Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, the richest person on Earth. If you’ve lost a dollar bill recently, that’s like Bezos losing $88,000.

 

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Mike Mozart // Flickr

#1. Walmart

- 2018 retail sales: $387.66 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 5,263
- U.S. headquarters location: Bentonville, AR

Amazon has income streams from its web services division, but its retail sales are dwarfed by Walmart. The world’s largest company by revenue, the world’s largest private employer, and the largest grocery retailer in the United States, Walmart operates under 55 names in 27 countries. Its future plans involve fighting Amazon every step of the way for complete retail dominance.

 

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