Marketwatch's Look at Big-Box Retailers

Marketwatch takes a look at how big-box retailers are weathering the current economic conditions relatively well.

Companies like Target Corp., Costco Wholesale Corp. and Best Buy Co. are carrying on with expansion plans at virtually the same pace as in years past.

"We continue to look at a standard of 100 net new stores a year," Target spokeswoman Anna Goeppinger said. In fact, Target's rate of expansion has quickened, as it built 118 new stores last year and is on pace for 116 this year. In 2005 and 2006, the company added 86 and 88 new stores, respectively.

For the most part, today's retail giants don't suffer in the same way that most retailers do when gasoline prices climb and pocketbooks get pinched. While they may make adjustments, they're big enough to absorb the shock, according to industry experts.

"They really are looking through the economic time because their stores will open after the bad economic times have passed," said Jim McComb, president of retail consultancy McComb Group based in Minneapolis, home to Best Buy and Target headquarters.

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