Which retail brands are the strongest today?

Dollar stores continue to perform well in today's economy.

Dollar stores continue to perform well in today’s economy.

by Dan Rafter

Sandy Golden, senior vice president with the Milwaukee office of CBRE, had a quick answer when asked how she managed to keep her business steady during the worst days of the Great Recession.

She pointed to her clients.

Golden works with a list of clients who turned out to be nearly recession-proof: Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, Petco, Ross Dress for Less, Noodles & Company, Chick-fil-A.

“I’d like to say that it was something magical that I did. But I have to give credit to my clients. Maybe they are the ones who are magical,” Golden told Midwest Real Estate News.

The recession hit all commercial sectors hard. But retail and office might have suffered the most. Today, though, both segments are showing signs of recovery.

But which retailers today are the strongest? Which are the ones, as Golden says, that have been “magical” during the economy’s roughest patches?

Brand-management firm Interbrand has some thoughts on this. Each year, the company produces a list of the strongest brands in the United States. The 2013 list is an interesting one.

The top-five brands on this list are little surprise: Walmart tops the list at number, followed by second-place Target. The Home Depot comes in third, while Amazon and CVS rank fourth and fifth.

The remainder of the top 10 is filled by Coach, Walgreens, Sam’s Club, ebay and Nordstrom.

More interesting are the names lower on the list. For instance, clothing store Anthropologie comes in at 50 and Cabela’s — which has been expanding in the Midwest — ranks 49th. Family Dollar is 45, no surprise considering how strong dollar stores have been performing across the Midwest and the country.

Also on the value end is BigLots at 44 and Dollar Tree at 38. Sister stores T.J. Maxx and Marshalls rank 31st and 32nd on the list, while Dick’s Sporting Goods comes in at 35.

It’s a fun list to peruse. And for retail brokers, it serves as a who-who of top-name retailers.

It’s too early to tell what 2014 holds for the retail sectors. But the brokers to whom Midwest Real Estate News has spoken predict that the year will see continued improvement in the retail sector.

That’s good news: Our economy, after all, only thrives when consumers are willing to spend their dollars at the country’s retailers.

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