Touts Top Retail Brands

In its latest white paper, sifted through retail data such as store openings, foot traffic and the average number of visits by shoppers, among other metrics, to spotlight 10 retail brands to watch in 2023.

Making the list were familiar names such as Western wear retailer Boot Barn and sporting goods retailer Hibbett Sports, as well as discounter Five Below and home goods retailer Bob’s Discount Furniture. Dave & Buster’s, the adult arcade, sports bar and restaurant, was also on the list. Sadly, James “Buster” Coley, a company cofounder, died earlier this week of an apparent suicide.

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Altar’d State also made the list. The specialty apparel chain, founded in 2009, has found success in the South and Midwest, catering to “young, career-focused women,” the authors of the report noted.

“The past year was a tumultuous one for retail, as a post-pandemic shopping boost gave way to historical inflation, rising gas prices, and the looming threat of a recession,” the report’s authors said. “At the same time, the changing economic and consumer landscape is creating new opportunities — and certain companies are particularly well positioned to benefit from these shifts.”

The report noted that several of the chains mentioned “are uncovering expansion potential in underserved markets with huge growth potential. Some are capitalizing on shifts in consumers’ preferences while others are doubling down on value pricing to appeal to bargain hunters.”

For Altar’d State, the key to its success has been in responding to consumer demands.

The Maryville, Tennessee-based apparel retailer has expanded to 128 locations in 39 states. “While originally positioned as a ‘modern Christian retail store,’ the company has since evolved to a retail powerhouse, with four sister brands under its umbrella — a plus-size option, bridal store, children’s clothing store, and an activewear brand,” the report stated.

As other brands struggle with in-store visits, Altar’d State has seen its footfall soar. Out of the last 11 months, the company has seen foot traffic rise by double digits.

The report’s authors also noted that while Altar’d State is positioned as a value brand, shoppers in the top 10 Altar’d State locations “have median household incomes (HHI) 15 percent higher than the national average. And this number is even higher in the South and Midwest, where the median HHI is slightly lower than the national average.” The researchers said the combination of strong traffic trends and high-income clientele “suggests the chain has identified a winning formula that is sure to carry over into the new year.”

Regarding Hibbett Sports, foot traffic has outpaced the sporting goods segment for the past year. As others in the segment were pummeled by rising inflation and supply chain disruptions, Hibbett Sports deployed a strategy that balanced online with in-store. The report’s authors said multiple factors contribute “to the chain’s elevated foot traffic (a winning omnichannel strategy helped), but it’s Hibbett’s ability to target the right audience through its brick-and-mortar strategy that is helping to drive visit growth.”

Additionally, the retailer zeroed in on opening stores in small- and midsize markets while capitalizing “on the growth potential of underserved areas with little to no competition,” said.

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