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O'Reilly Automotive among top recession retailers

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Some large retailers are finding ways to post significant growth even in a recession, and one of them is based in Springfield.

On Oct. 5, U.S. News & World Report posted its list of the "10 Retailers Gaining Strength from the Recession," and among those bucking the recessionary trend was O'Reilly Automotive Inc.

As Springfield Business Journal media partner KSPR reported Tuesday, the magazine examined a list of about 140 retailers with annual revenue of $250 million or more to see which have posted significant gains in both total revenue and market share since the end of 2007. The firms covered a dozen categories, from apparel to Internet sales.

The magazine points to O'Reilly's 84 percent revenue growth over the last two years as a sign of strength during the recession. O'Reilly, the report says, is in a position to benefit from car owners holding on to older vehicles for longer than usual.

U.S. News says O'Reilly is similar to other strong-performing companies in that it offers products that appeal to people looking to save money and has enough diversity to not be unduly hurt by poor performance in any one sector.

"Last year and this year, people have not been buying new cars, holding on to their older vehicles, and having more and more repairs done on those vehicles," said O'Reilly spokesman Mark Merz. "That benefits a company like ours. Also, gas prices were down toward the end of last year, which gave people more disposable income to make those repairs they might have been putting off."

He added that the fact that O'Reilly supplies both do-it-yourself consumers and professional repair shops, making the company less susceptible to drops in either individual sector.

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