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10 retailers bucking the trend and opening stores

Top 10 retail expansion plans

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Wet Seal. RadioShack. Frederick's of Hollywood.

The retail headlines of 2015 have read like an obituary for brick-and-mortar stores, as a flood of companies have announced that they're closing—or plan to close—hundreds and even thousands of locations.

It was a rough start for the retail industry, which ended 2014 on a similarly sour note. According to FBIC analyst Deborah Weinswig, who cited data from the International Council of Shopping Centers, retail and restaurant businesses announced the closing of nearly 5,500 locations last year.

But where there's death, there's life.

On the heels of bankruptcy filings and other store closures, Weinswig and ICSC compiled a list of companies that announced the greatest number of new locations in 2014. The list spans dollar stores and fast-fashion—proving Americans continue to seek value—as well as quick service restaurants.

"Lest the reader think 2014 was a year of merely shuttering retail stores and luring consumers to e-commerce platforms, we provide a list of notable retail expansion plans announced during 2014," Weinswig said.

There are also retailers that didn't make the list, such as TJX and Nordstrom, which have set longer-term targets to grow their footprints. And earlier this year, Wal-Mart said it will open 60 or 70 supercenters in 2015, along with 180 to 200 of its smaller-format Neighborhood Market stores.

For a list of the 10 retailers that announced the most significant store expansion plans last year, click ahead.

—By CNBC's Krystina Gustafson
Posted 12 March 2015

10. Men's Wearhouse

Pedestrians walk by a Men's Wearhouse retail store in San Francisco, California.
Getty Images

Announcement made: Second quarter
Number of announced openings: 100

Men's Wearhouse is on the prowl for more stores—and it isn't relying on Jos. A. Bank to get them.

Although the specialty menswear store completed its acquisition of the rival chain nine months ago, simultaneously boosting its fleet by more than 600 locations, it also said that it would add 100 Men's Wearhouse shops to its fleet.

9. Hobby Lobby

A Hobby Lobby store in Plantation, Florida.
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Announcement made: First and third quarters
Number of announced openings: 101

2014 was a big year for the arts and crafts retailer, and not just because of its store expansion. The Oklahoma City-based company left a major mark on the U.S. when it won a Supreme Court case that argued it should not be required to provide female workers with free access to contraception.

Although the private company was busy making its case, it wasn't too busy to plot out more stores, announcing 101 new locations during the year. According to the company's website, it currently operates more than 600 locations around the country.

8. Dick's Sporting Goods

A Dick's Sporting Goods store in West Nyack, New York
Craig Warga | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Announcement made: First, second and third quarters
Number of announced openings: 105

Although weakness in the golf and hunting categories has weighed on Dick's business, that hasn't hurt its appetite for new stores. But the sports retailer isn't relying on the physical space alone to drive its sales.

Investments in its web operations sent its online sales up about 30 percent in the most recent quarter, according to Stifel Nicolaus estimates, accounting for about 8 percent of the company's revenues.

7. O'Reilly Auto Parts

Dagny Willis | Getty Images

Announcement made: First quarter
Number of announced openings: 200

The auto parts segment is having a good run, and O'Reilly Auto Parts is reaping the benefits. According to Retail Metrics, the category is expected to generate retail's strongest fourth-quarter revenue growth, at 16 percent. For its part, O'Reilly has averaged a 5.8 percent same-store sales gain over the past seven quarters, according to Stifel Nicolaus.

The company's new stores will be spread out across the U.S., with a focus on the Northeast.

6. Tim Hortons

A person walks past a Tim Horton's cafe in New York City.
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Announcement made: First quarter
Number of announced openings: 300

Tim Hortons made headlines last year when it merged with fast food restaurant Burger King, creating a company with 18,000 restaurants in 100 countries.

The Canadian coffee and doughnut shop isn't stopping there, though, with plans to add to its already robust store count of more than 4,500 locations worldwide.

5. Family Dollar

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Announcement made: Fourth quarter
Number of announced openings: 375

Family Dollar, which is awaiting Federal Trade Commission approval to be acquired by Dollar Tree for $8.5 billion, was the only retailer to make the top 10 list for both the most openings and closings.

Although the company said it would cut the ribbon on 375 new locations, it closed hundreds of underperforming stores last year, netting five new store announcements for the year, Weinswig said.

4. Dollar Tree

A Dollar Tree store in Miami
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Announcement made: First quarter
Number of announced openings: 375

As cash-strapped consumers flock to the values at dollar stores, Dollar Tree opened 90 new stores in the fourth quarter alone. However, its expansion plans come with a caveat.

As part of its potential deal with Family Dollar, the company said last month that U.S. antitrust authorities are reviewing more than 500 Dollar Tree stores for possible closures. Later that month, Dollar Tree reiterated it does not anticipate more than 300 required store closings.

3. Dunkin' Donuts

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Announcement made: Fourth quarter
Number of announced openings: 410

Tim Hortons isn't the only coffee and doughnut shop upping its fleet. After netting 405 new Dunkin' Donuts locations in the U.S. last year, the quick service restaurant is continuing on its growth track. As of December, there were already more than 11,000 Dunkin' Donuts shops around the world.

2. Forever 21

Forever 21 store in New York City.
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Announcement made: Second quarter
Number of announced openings: 470

Fast-fashion is all the rage, and Forever 21 is hoping to capture a bigger slice of the market. The Los Angeles-based private company sells merchandise on the cheap—even compared to competitors H&M and Zara—and has piloted a new store concept that sells just the basics at extremely low prices.

The retailer aims to open 600 stores in the next three years, which would double its current base.

1. Dollar General

A shopper loads purchases into his vehicle outside a Dollar General Corp. store in Princeton, Illinois.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Announcement made: First quarter
Number of announced openings: 700

Although Dollar General's bid to acquire competitor Family Dollar fell flat, it rounds out the list of dollar stores vastly expanding their store counts.

Analysts have said they do not expect Dollar General to be put at a competitive disadvantage from consolidation elsewhere in the industry.