Online competition has dampened most of the chain-store retail sector, with two exceptions: off-price retail and home retail. That may help explain the success of HomeGoods (TJX) , which crosses both categories.

Sales growth grew by 7% in the second quarter, following three consecutive years of noteworthy performance: a 7% annual comp in 2014, 8% in 2015 and 6% in 2016. A strong housing market has helped sales at the store, which heavily discounts home goods.

Compared to other sectors, high single-digit growth may not look impressive, but HomeGood's competitors are hardly close. Macy's (M) reported a comparable store sales decline of 2.5%, JCPenney (JCP) reported a decline of 1.3%, and Urban Outfitters (URBN) leads the pack with a decline of 4.9%, while the department store Nordstrom (JWN) managed to eke out just 1.7% comparable-store sales growth.

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