Who were the top 7 retailers of 2021?

Here are the most successful retailers of the passing year


Who were the top 7 retailers of 2021? Source:

As humankind is adjusting to the pandemic realities, retail sales have started gaining momentum. In the US, households boosted by relief payments have spent money confidently despite unprecedented inflation. Overall, retail sales went up 16.3% on a year-on-year basis in October. In the EU, retail started its resurrection in April when sales growth reached an all-time high of 22.7 %. Retail stocks in general, as represented by the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT), have significantly outperformed the broader market.

While some retailers suffered a lot from the decline in foot traffic, others seemed to adapt to the changes as they prospered enormously in 2021.


Global footwear leader posted record revenues in Q3 2021 – $625.9 million, which represents an increase of 73.0% from the same period last year, or 72.2% on a constant currency basis. The previous quarter was even more profitable – $640.8 million, with an even greater increase of 93.3%, or 88.4% on a constant currency basis. Within digital sales, all regions experienced double-digit growth from the prior year. Besides, this is the third consecutive year of double-digit percentage revenue growth at Crocs. Moreover, the retailer said it expects its revenue to climb to more than $5 billion by 2026.

It’s no wonder that Crocs has been one of the market’s big winners in 2021. The CROX stock started the year at $62.66 and as of December 23, 2021, it traded at $123,53. That means a 97% growth, even despite the recent one-day plunge of 11.6%. The brand’s success has a few reasons. Firstly, Crocs quickly overcame the supply chain disruptions which persisted in 2021. Secondly, its footwear has become mainstream, worn by celebrities and influencers. Finally, one of the hottest footwear trends of 2021 may become even hotter, as Crocs is improving its ESG solutions. Namely, the company began producing bio-based products, made of materials sourced from waste and by-products from other industries.

Lululemon Athletica

Revenue climbed by 61% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2021, with revenue from stores surging by 142%. For the third quarter, the company reported a net revenue increase of 30% to $1.5 billion, while on a constant dollar basis, net revenue increased 28%. Strong profit growth is inspired by the so-called athleisure trend – a type of hybrid clothing suitable for both workplace and athletic activities. It’s has become more popular as the majority of employees still work from home most of the time.

Now traded at $389, the LULU stock has added 9% since January. Its YTD growth is also a significant 12,51%.

Home Depot

Shares of the famous home improvement destination surged almost 50% YTD. Home Depot’s sales soared during the pandemic with the sharp rise in DIY trends. Although this summer people bought less paint and gardening supplies, their typical receipts grew larger as they included more lumber, flooring and plumbing supplies.

The sales of Q3 2021 reached $36.8B, with more than $15.5B growth YTD, and a 9.8% increase from the third quarter of fiscal 2020. Comparable sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2021 increased 6.1%.


The total revenues of the legendary coffee retailer that celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2021 increased 31.3% year-on-year to $8.15 billion in its fiscal fourth quarter, ended October 3, 2021. Its operating income was $1.48 billion, representing a 165.5% year-on-year rise. Its net income came in at $1.76 billion, up 349.4% year-on-year, while EPS increased 351.5% year-on-year to $1.49. The stock performance over the year increased modestly by 10%.

Starbucks’ adaptation to new consumer behaviours was a key to success. Drive-thru represented 47% of transactions for Starbucks in the Q3 2021. Mobile ordering for in-store pickup, delivery or kerbside totaled 26%. The company also opened 538 new stores in the last quarter of 2021, shifting much of its development strategy to the suburbs where drive-thrus are more prevalent. The new Starbucks Pickup with Amazon Go in NY is another experiment with customer-centred service formats on the way to the company’s digital transformation.


Although almost a year has passed since the GameStop investing frenzy, the stock didn’t fall down to its 2020 level of $4 per share. Today, the shares of the beleaguered video game retailer are trading at $152, showing around 700% growth over a year.

The company’s financials also improved. GameStop almost eliminated its long-term debt and posted net sales of $1.183 billion and $1.297 billion in Q3 and Q4 respectively. The healthy increase of 25-29% year-on-year was enabled by new and expanded brand relationships, such as Samsung, LG, Razer, Vizio and others, as well as some excellent management decisions. GameStop is planning to expand its product catalogue, add new talent to its workforce, strengthen its technology capabilities, and improve its e-commerce strategy.

Bath & Body Works

The retailer behind Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, White Barn, C.O. Bigelow, and PINK brands has seen its stock soar over 131% YTD. The company’s third quarter financial results have beaten some expectations. Although Victoria’s Secret became a separate private entity in August, it didn’t hinder the company’s business. On the contrary, Bath & Body Works management believes separation will enable both companies to better focus on growth and have greater financial flexibility to adapt to a changing retail landscape.

The company reported net sales of $1.681 billion for the third quarter ended Oct. 30, 2021, compared to net sales of $1.702 billion for the third quarter ended Oct. 31, 2020. However, sales for the third quarter of 2021 increased 53% compared to sales of $1.099 billion in 2019. Excluding the pre-tax losses on the early extinguishment of debt in both years, adjusted third quarter earnings per share from continuing operations were $0.92 compared to $0.83 last year. At the same time, EPS increased 360% compared to the third quarter of 2019. Adjusted net income from continuing operations was $244.8 million compared to $236.2 million last year.

Driven Brands Holdings

The automotive service retailer’s stock was a top pick for many investors this year. DRVN grew 102% YTD. The company provides a range of consumer and commercial automotive needs and services, including paint, collision, glass, vehicle repair, oil change, maintenance and car wash.

For the third quarter, revenue was $371.1 million, an increase of 39% versus the prior year. System-wide sales were $1.2 billion, an increase of 28% versus the prior year, with 4% net store growth and an increase in consolidated same-store sales of 12.8%. Net income in the third quarter reached $33.1 million, an increase of 712% versus the prior year. Adjusted net income was $43.5 million, an increase of 96% versus the prior year.

Earnings per share was $0.19 for the third quarter, an increase of 375% versus the prior year, while adjusted EPS was $0.26, an increase of 30% versus the prior year.


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