Recession-Proof: 10 Stores We Can't Live Without

By Amy Ascherman
|  Monday, Mar 2, 2009  |  Updated 8:01 AM CDT
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Recession-Proof: 10 Stores We Can't Live Without

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Urban Outfitters is riding out the by selling not only fashion-forward trends but, more importantly, a distinct lifestyle.

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There are some things we just can't live without -- even in a recession.

Urban Outfitters, American Apparel and BJs are some of the retailers that are bucking the downward trend and posting gains -- and it's not just because Americans aren't willing to part ways with booties and bulk cereal, according to Forbes' list of the "10 Stores Americans Can't Give Up." 

"They're not like every other store in the mall," says Howard Tubin, director of soft line retail equity research at Montreal-headquartered RBC Capital Markets, about the unique set-up and product mix of each store location. "These aren't cookie-cutter locations."

Stores such as Aeropostale, Hermes and GameStop have remained popular because they are a lifestyle brand, experts told Forbes.

Buckle,  J. Crew and Wal-Mart, which fit this mold, are also on the list.

Brick-and-mortar stores are not the only retailers who are reapping the financial benefits. Amazon.com also made the top 10.

"Amazon did what they needed to do early on: They built a sense of community," Dr. Robert Passikoff, founder and president of the brand consultancy firm Brand Keys, Inc., told Forbes.

Online and off, the secret to retail success in these tough times isn't so much of a secret at all. It's appears that some retailers are better positioned to take advantage of the conditions than others.

"The name of the game is differentiation," says Tubin. "Consumers are not looking to part with their money. Newness, excitement: That's how you win."

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