Top 5 Department Stores 2023

For the sixth consecutive year, RIS has collaborated with wRatings to rank the industry’s top performing retailers. We’ve highlighted the top 100 companies that are continuing to prosper despite the ongoing volatility, analyzing their percentage of market share and how it translates to overall sales and where these companies are investing to maintain their competitive edge. The Top 10 alone totals $2.4 trillion in sales — besting last year’s $2.3 trillion. 

Below RIS breaks out the Top 5 Department Stores from the full Top 100 list —  a world that has had to continually evolve to adapt to the changing retail landscape. Some of their innovative strategies and uses of technology have totally reshaped the shopping experience.


1. Macy’s

No. 21 overall, .68% market share

Despite many store closures, Macy’s remains a stalwart in American retail, consistently redefining its approach to cater to evolving consumer preferences. As of late, the company is focusing on off-price shopping in 300 locations. Playing to the bargain hunters, this past spring saw 10 new Macy’s Backstage stores launch — a strategy which, thus far, has both driving foot and online traffic. Data analytics played an important role in ensuring that such excess inventory didn’t mean losses.

The new store-within-store locations span from 11,000 to 23,000 square feet, and offer a range of products including young women’s, sportswear, men’s apparel, dresses, and luxury handbags. To attract new customers, the store has also implemented a focused strategy, offering a curated selection of merchandise in smaller quantities, rotated more often.

Ross stores

2. Ross Stores

No. 27 overall, .52 market share

In mid-2021, Ross Stores announced store expansions of its Ross Dress for Less and eight dd's Discounts stores. The momentum continues today, with 27 openings this summer across 14 states, with no end in sight. 

"These recent openings reflect our ongoing plans to continue building our presence in both existing and newer markets," said Gregg McGillis, group executive vice president, Property Development, in a recent statement. "This summer, Ross Dress for Less opened its inaugural six stores in the state of Michigan and dd's expanded its presence in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. Looking ahead, we remain confident in our ability to grow to at least 2,900 Ross Dress for Less and 700 dd's DISCOUNTS locations over time."


3. Kohl’s 

No. 28 overall, .49 market share

Kohl’s went from a potential sale in mid-2022 to making a permanent leadership change in February 2023, with interim CEO, Tom Kingsbury, staying on. With an eye on growth, the company also named a new CMO this past summer. Christie Raymond will lead overall marketing efforts, building on Kohl’s creative, loyalty, customer analytics, corporate communications, and philanthropic efforts.

In terms of upping customer experience, for the 2022 holiday season, Kohl’s strengthened its omnichannel/BOPIS programs, expanding self-pickup to all stores across the U.S. for eligible purchases. This year, Kohl’s is going all in on its partnership with Sephora, adding another 250 beauty stores within its locations for a total of 850 stores. Ultimately, the intent is to have a Sephora store in all Kohl’s locations by 2025. 

canadian tire

4.Canadian Tire

No. 29 overall, .49 market share

In early 2022, Canadian Tire announced a whopping $3.4 billion investment over four years “to deliver an improved omnichannel customer experience.” Details include: expanding triangle rewards to drive customer engagement and fuel growth across banners, strengthening data-led personalized marketing capabilities, the national rollout of “Triangle Select” — a new premium annual fee-based membership program — and an expanded BNPL program. The company also plans to transform the online user experience by rolling out its One DigitalPlatform.

More recently, Canadian Tire announced infrastructure investment — including a seven-year partnership to leverage Microsoft Azure to modernize its systems and infrastructure and use direct access to cloud products and upskilling capabilities. The company expects the improvements to enhance the omnichannel journey and  experiences across its brands. 


5. Nordstrom

No. 33 overall, .42 market share

At the end of 2022, Nordstrom was fortifying financially to prevent a takeover. More recently, the retailer announced plans to better optimize its supply chain, including boosting radio-frequency identification (RFID) initiatives while continuing to enhance inventory productivity and returns processing.

The retailer is constantly innovating in-store experiences through product line expansions, pop-up stores and food experiences (or combination of both like with the Rag & Bone deli). Nordstrom recently rebranded Nordstrom Rack “to further differentiate Nordstrom Rack in a competitive and loud, off-price retail market, attract new customers and better connect with existing customers.” This move coincides with location expansion as well, as the company added more than a dozen Nordstrom Rack locations in 2023 thus far, according to its press room.


While other lists rank retailers on total revenue, profit, or even share price, this annual list takes a different approach. The retailers that make our Top 100 are ranked on their piece of the total retail market.

Our rankings are based on data gathered from research partner Gary A. Williams, CEO of wRatings. The financial metrics of 180 publicly traded retailers were examined. 

The economic data is from a trailing 12-month period ending on March 24, 2023. The percent of retail market share was calculated against a total retail market of around $3.6 trillion. The research ranked North American (including U.S., Canada, Bermuda, Virgin Islands) retailers across apparel, department store, grocery, furniture, beauty, building supply, convenience/fuel, e-commerce, hardlines, and softlines segments.

Why the Full Top 100 List Looks a Little Different This Year

When comparing this year’s list to last year, we’ve implemented a few changes, which impacted overall rankings when comparing year-over-year. For this year’s rankings, we’ve pulled out all the retailers that were not North America-based. This move eliminated a total of five retailers from the 2023 list, including two which normally make the Top 10: and Alibaba Group. The five retailers eliminated included four from China and one from Japan because, while these companies all trade on a U.S.-based stock exchange, they don’t operate stores in the country. Additionally, we deleted the restaurant chains category. These changes did not impact the top five retailers on this year’s list, but the removal of and Alibaba Group left room for home improvement retailer Lowe’s and convenience retailer Alimentation Couche-Tard to step up to the limelight, notching the No. 9 and No. 10 spots of the top 10 retailers. Click here for the full “Top 100 Retailers in 2023” list.