• Retail Top 100 2012, No. 22: Costco

Costco’s 596 stores provide a great indicator of where different products — from milk and eggs to diamond rings — are likely to see growth, according to Jeff Weidauer at retail industry marketing firm Vestcom International. Hofstra University business professor Barry Berman recommends Costco’s strategy of opportunistic buying to any “smart retailer.”

By focusing on prices and maintaining a 17-percent profit margin, Costco has seen its profitability grow during the economic downturn as shoppers turned to the wholesale club operator for deals on food and necessities. The Issaquah, Wash., company reported that its fiscal 2011 net income rose 12 percent to $1.46 billion, or $3.30 per share, while revenue climbed 14 percent to $88.92 billion.

Download the complete Top 100.

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