A newcomer to the Fortune 500, Dollar Tree was also its best performing stock last year, returning nearly 61%. That was no small feat: As a group, the Fortune 500 sank 41%. The company cashed in on the recession, as a $1 (or less) price on everything from candy to glassware drove sales at more than 3,500 stores.
Family Dollar Stores
There’s nothing like a recession to draw customers into a dollar store. Family Dollar raked in $6.9 billion in sales last year, and its stock soared nearly 40%. An expanding assortment of goods – including ready-to-serve soups and Hanes underwear – helped boost business. The average amount spent per customer: $10.