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) -- Not everyone in the retail industry is shrinking.

While the majority of stores are experiencing declining revenues -- and, as a result,

shuttering doors

and laying off employees -- there are some firms that experienced sales growth in 2008, according to STORES Magazine's Hot 100 Retailers.

The biggest surprise? There are even a handful that are growing on their own; without the help of a big-ticket acquisition.

American Apparel

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, the No. 2 fastest growing retailer, with revenue soaring 57.6% in 2008, attributed its success to its ability to appeal to its core demographic.

"I think we struck a chord in American culture," founder and CEO Dov Charney told STORES.

But the t-shirt retailer hasn't been as lucky in 2009. In June, its same-store sales tumbled 13%, and it has had to contend with a

federal investigation for hiring illegal employees



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also saw a 46% jump in revenue through product innovation and new store openings. Constantly refreshing must-have items like the iPhone and iPod has kept Apple relevant. Its iPhones alone generated 15% of 2008 profits.

The electronics retailer also opened up 50 new locations in 2008, 19 of which were overseas, bringing the apple logo to a wide-spread group of consumers.

Still, most of the growth in 2008 was attained from mergers and acquisitions. Chart-topper


, formerly IHOP, bought Applebee's in 2008 and since then has seen its sales more than triple, even as restaurants take a huge hit amid the recession.

Fast-food chain


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was also able to achieve growth of 44.2%, as the two companies merged. Value-menu options, in addition, helped the company compete with rivals like


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But this

price war between fast-food chains

may not result in a long-term win. If chains like Wendy's/Arby's continue to discount, it could result in depressed same-store sales, UBS analyst David Palmer wrote in a research note in June, when he downgraded Wendy's.



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Urban Outfitters

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Best Buy

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didn't crack the top 10, they are are among the retailers that have continued growing every year since the Hot 100 list was launched in 2004.

The video game market was one of the last to feel the pangs of the recession, allowing GameStop to increase revenue 24.1% in 2008.

But the video game retailer may not be so lucky when it comes to next year's list. In June the

sales of video games shrunk 31%

to $1.17 billion, according to the NPD Group. That was the biggest monthly decline since September 2000.

Urban Outfitters

remains best-in-class

in a sea of struggling retailers. The contemporary chain has been able to drive sales without lowering prices, a feat deemed almost impossible in the current environment.

With the

appointment of its new CEO

, Best Buy is looking for ways to bolster its market share in local communities.

CEO Brain Dunn plans to achieve this goal by stocking stores with an assortment of products, hiring smart employees and increasing its stance as the go-to destination for digital solutions and "connectivity."

He says he will also roll out more Best Buy Mobile stores and improve digital music downloads through the acquired file-swapping service, Napster.

In other words, anything to keep the company on next year's list.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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