Ace Hardware is in the top 25 percent of fastest-growing retailers in the U.S., according to the National Retail Federation.
Ace, which is headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, ranked No. 24 for year-over-year domestic sales growth on the Hot 100 Retailers 2015 list, which the retail trade association publishes annually. The co-op’s retail sales grew 18.7 percent from 2013 to 2014.
“The Hot 100 is a mix of companies that have balance sheets that allow them to make acquisitions or grow organically,” says Bryan Gildenberg with Kantar Retail, the company that provides the research for the list.
Notably, Ace Hardware bought two wholesale companies in 2014. Those companies are Emery-Waterhouse, a Portland, Maine-based hard lines distributor, and Jensen Distribution Services of Spokane, Washington. The acquisitions made Ace a $300 million wholesale company. Ace executives have credited the purchases as contributors to the company’s rapid growth.
Ace Hardware is the largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative in the world, with more than 4,800 hardware stores locally owned and operated across the globe.
The co-op’s high-ranking growth percentage trailed behind companies such as AT&T Wireless and Amazon, as well as clothing, jewelry, cosmetic and grocery sellers. Fast-growing rural lifestyle businesses Rural King Supply and Tractor Supply Co. ranked behind Ace on the Hot 100 list.
Ace also did well on another National Retail Federation list this year. The organization’s Top 100 Retailers list ranked Ace at No. 28, following competitors such as Wal-Mart at No. 1, The Home Depot at No. 4 and Lowe’s at No. 8. The companies were ranked as top U.S. retailers based on retail sales, not on growth rate.
The big-box home improvement retailers were not among the fastest-growing companies.