Analysis Notes 10 Retail Brands on the Rise

Despite fears of a recession, 10 retail brands are poised for major success in 2023, foot traffic analytics firm found.

In its “10 Top Retail Brands to Watch in 2023” white paper, found the changing economic and consumer landscape has created opportunities for companies already benefiting from these changes. researchers found chains are discovering huge growth potential in underserved markets, capitalizing on shifts in consumer preferences and using value pricing to appeal to bargain hunters.

“While each company highlighted here is implementing a slightly different approach, these 10 brands have one thing in common: They all have a winning strategy for the coming year,” said.

The report listed Whataburger at the top of the analysis, noting the 24-hour hamburger chain added nearly 100 locations between 2019 and 2022, going from 828 sites to 923.

“October and November 2022 saw year-over-three-year (Yo3Y) visit increases of 16.5% and 5.1%,” the report said. The San Antonio, Texas, chain’s cult-like followers often wait in long lines for each opening, leading Whataburger to outperform QSR rivals by a wide margin.

The chain’s hours figure significantly into this traffic trend, showing an increasing share of traffic between 9 p.m. and midnight, as well as between midnight and 3 a.m. when most of the competition is closed.

“The combination of Whataburger’s cult status, its new focus on expansion, and its late-night hours in the context of a shifting dining landscape all bode well for the chain heading into 2023,” the report said.

No. 2 on’s list was the East Coast convenience store chain Wawa, which like other convenience stores is taking market share away from QSRs. The chain’s culinary offerings are a cut above competitors’, earning kudos from the likes of Food & Wine and Saveur. Foot traffic increased in 2020 in all seven states where Wawa has locations, said.

“Wawa venues in New Jersey, Delaware and D.C. saw the largest increases, with 48%, 42.2%, and 50.1% more visits, on average, than in 2019, while the remaining states all saw average visit per venue growth between 34.3% and 41.2%. The strong performance may be incentivizing the chain to continue expanding: Wawa recently announced plans to open locations in four more states – Tennessee, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio,” noted.

There’s also a high loyalty factor among so called Wawaholics, and the bond has been increasing, the report said.

Among other food-related brands on’s list are:

  • No. 4 Dave & Buster’s, which recently acquired rival Main Event
  • No. 8 Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, which is expected to benefit from consumers who want to save money, and … 
  • No. 10 Total Wine & More, which has seen average visits per site increase as it has expanded its footprint.

Making the list on the nonfood side were Bob’s Discount Furniture, coming in at No. 3, No. 5 Hibbett Sports, No. 6 Five Below, No. 7 Boot Barn and No. 9 Altar’d State.