Fairfield well-represented on hottest retailers list

By From page B7 | February 10, 2013

Three of the hottest areas in retailing during 2012, according to Stores Magazine, are groceries, trendy fashion and telecommunications (technology). Translation: Consumer spending on food, clothes and cellphones is helping to churn the dollars needed to push the retail economy.

Stores Magazine produces industry surveys, buying guides and a host of informational reports about the latest trends, hottest ideas, current technology and consumer attitudes in the retail industry. Our favorite publication from Stores Magazine is its list of the 2012 Hot 100 Retailers (sales growth). This week, we look at who some of 2012’s hottest retailers are . . . and their presence, or lack thereof, in Fairfield.

Food retailer Sprouts Farmers Market occupies the No. 1 company ranking for sales growth on the Hot 100 list. The specialty grocery store is typically smaller than the normal supermarket and focuses on healthy (and organic) foods and produce. With headquarters in Phoenix, the company has stores throughout the Northwest and parts of the central states, Sprouts Farmers Market’s growth can also be attributed to general contraction among supermarket operators. Sprouts merged with Henry’s Farmers Market and purchased other small chains to help ignite its growth. Sprouts leads the Hot 100 list with more than 71 percent sales growth.

While Sprouts does not have a Fairfield presence, several grocers are represented on the Hot 100 list, including Trader Joe’s (in the Fairfield Gateway), sitting at No. 80. As the grocery wars progress, we believe more specialty grocers may show interest in the Solano County marketplace. The location of the Sprouts closest to Fairfield is in Sacramento.

Other food retailers on the Hot List that have a presence in Fairfield include Costco (Hot 100 list No. 63) and Grocery Outlet (Hot 100 list No. 100). Despite recent news stories about the potential fate of the company, Britain’s Fresh and Easy Markets are also on this list. They leased and improved a space in Fairfield (Beck Avenue/West Texas Street) a few years ago but never opened.

Communications service provider Verizon Wireless graced the No. 2 spot on the Hot 100 list. It’s the 21st century and consumers want to stay connected at all times. Cellphones are big money, and Verizon’s sales growth continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Almost any new shopping center or mall expansion makes room for a new cellphone store or two.

And, speaking of technology retailers, wouldn’t every town love to have an Apple store? The popularity of consumer electronics, especially smartphones and tablets sold by companies such as Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Apple, will probably keep these companies near the top of the Hot 100 list for years to come.

Fashion remains important as well.

Michael Kors Holdings is a Hong Kong-based men’s and women’s apparel retailer, with its U.S. headquarters in New York City. Sales have been good, with 68 percent sales growth placing Michael Kors at No. 3 on the Hot 100 list. Kors products are sold both through third-party retailers and its own stores throughout the U.S. The Kors brand has been around for more than 30 years but in recent years has developed quite a following. You can find Kors merchandise in Macy’s (Hot 100 list No. 99) and Ross (Hot 100 list No. 58), so Fairfield is represented.

What other retailers in the Hot 100 list have Fairfield locations?

At Solano Town Center, shoppers can visit Rue21, (apparel); The Men’s Warehouse (apparel); The Finish Line (shoes); Zuimez (shoes and accessories); Foot Locker (shoes); and Sephora (cosmetics). Shoe sales are one common denominator for retailers on the list and there are certainly popular shoe retailers like DSW (Hot 100 list No. 46) that are not in Fairfield but might do well here.

In case you are wondering if higher-end retail stores such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Saks have the sales growth to make the list, they come in at No. 34, No. 70 and No. 71, respectively.

Most retailers showing strong sales growth are actively opening new stores. It helps if a community has available, well-located, well-managed, flexible retail space available as well. A successful regional mall remains an important plus for companies looking for new sites, along with traditional demographic factors like population, growth rates and disposable income.

With active new management at Solano Town Center and vacant shop spaces (limited) in the Fairfield Gateway area, there are opportunities for new retailers to enter the Fairfield market. There are many retailers on the Hot 100 list that could probably do well in this community but aren’t represented here (yet), so the city’s Community Development staff will continue to work with the local retail community to attract new business to Fairfield.

Economic Notes is an update from Fairfield City Hall written by Brian Miller and Karl Dumas of the Fairfield Planning and Development Department. They can be contacted at 428-7461 or email at [email protected] or [email protected]

Brian Miller and Karl Dumas


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