NEW YORK (
) -- Bigger isn't always better, at least when it comes to investing in the retail sector.
While sheer size is always an attraction for investors (who can deny the power of Wal-Mart?) those retailers with growth potential can be just as an enticing an investment.
Even as the job market remains rocky, at best, and two consumer sentiment indexes revealed confidence remains stubbornly low, there still remain pockets of growth amid the retail sector.
The National Retail Federation, along with Kantar Retail, uncovered those public and private retailers that reported the greatest increase in domestic sales between 2008 and 2009 in the Stores Hot 100 Retailers list.
"The challenging retail landscape has undoubtedly opened up doors for some retailers who may not have been top-of-mind a few years back," Susan Redam editor of
, said in a statement. "The importance of brand recognition has never been more important, but consumer demand for value has never been more prevalent. The list this year celebrates those retailers that performed well because of hard times and those that continue to do well despite them."
To be eligible for the list, retailers must have more than $300 million in sales. International revenues, gasoline and other fuel sales and non-sale revenues such as credit card operations and membership fees are excluded from the tally.
Unsurprisingly, a significant chunk of those retailers that saw the most growth, are also some of the smallest companies. "It's not unusual to see smaller retailers atop lists of fast-growing companies because generating growth of a small base can be relatively easy for an appealing concept," Mary Brett Whitfield, senior vice president, Kantar Retail, said in a statement. "But given the economic challenges of the past year, making this list regardless of size is quite an accomplishment."
Read on for a look at the fastest-growing retailers....