10 Best Large and Mid-Sized Retail Employers to Work for 2022

Despite challenges, some retailers are still garnering recommendations from their valued employees. Discover the best large and mid-sized American retailers to work for according to the boots on the ground.
Jamie Grill-Goodman
Editor in Chief
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To determine Forbes' list, Statista surveyed 60,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees. All the surveys were anonymous, allowing participants to openly share their opinions. The respondents were asked to rate, on a scale of zero to 10, how likely they’d be to recommend their employer to others. Statista then asked respondents to rate their companies on factors such as working conditions, development opportunities and compensation. The final list ranks the 500 large (more than 5,000 employees) and 500 midsize (1,000 to 5,000 employees) employers that received the most recommendations.

What employees want in a workplace has been forever marked by the pandemic, leaving it up to retailers to adapt to these new expectations. Some companies have risen to the challenge — attracting and retaining talented employees by providing them the benefits they want, while keeping their wellbeing in mind.

To pinpoint the companies liked best by employees, Forbes partnered with market research company Statista for its annual ranking of America’s Best Employers. The ranking is divided into two lists: one for the top large companies with more than 5,000 U.S. employees, and another for the top mid-sized companies with 1,000 to 5,000.

The final lists rank the 500 large and 500 midsize employers that received the most recommendations. Below, RIS looked at the data and pulled the top 10 large and midsized retailers (by RIS’ definition) that made the cut.

[See How This List Compares to RIS' Top 100 Retailers Ranking]

When looking at RIS’ breakdown, Costco Wholesale and Vera Bradley both top their respective retailer lists. However, Costco dropped to No. 17 overall from No. 4 overall last year. Vera Bradley, who’s CIO Adam Fox was an RIS’ CIO of the Year in 2021, ranked No. 1 on the full Best Mid-Sized American Retailers to Work for list.

Vera Bradley ranks No.1 on Forbes' America’s Best Mid-Sized Employers list. Credit: Vera Bradly

Samantha Todd of Forbeswrites that Vera Bradley came out on top for diversity, equity and inclusion, a factor survey respondents were asked to weigh in on.

“The handbag and luggage maker earned high marks for cultivating a workplace that’s inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community, and for pay equity and diversity, with 60% of its board of directors being made up of women,” Todd writes. “When Barbara Bradley Baekgaard cofounded the company, its sewing, creative and distribution roles were staffed exclusively by women, until operational needs in the warehouse required gender diversification, and she recruited a retired police officer named Bob. To make him feel welcome in the workplace, Vera Bradley hosted an annual ‘Bob Day.’ ‘We would all dress like Bob—we would put on a cap, tuck in our hair, put on a flannel shirt like he wore, and we would do silly things like ‘bob’ for apples,’” Baekgaard tells Forbes.

[See also the retailers that made Glassdoor’s 100 Best Places to Work – U.S. list.]

Overall, large retailers fell a little on the list. In 2021, the 10th large retailer on RIS’ list ranked No. 82 on the overall large employers list. This year the 10th large retailer ranks No. 179 on the overall list. However, last year the 10th mid-sized retailer was No. 194 overall, and this year No. 10 on RIS’ list is ranked 157 overall, in addition to Vera Bradly taking the top spot overall.

Publix, ranking No. 168 on Forbes’ America’s Best Large Employers list, and the 7th ranked company in retail, publicly noted “At Publix, our culture — like everything at our company — is made possible by our associates’ contributions. We’re proud our associates value Publix as a great employer,” said Publix director of communications Maria Brous. Publix’s company ownership model, dedication to promoting from within and providing opportunities for advancement contribute to the company’s ranking.

Build-A-Bear landed on the Mid-Sized list for the third time in a row, and noted, “Our passionate associates are the heart of our brand and their dedication to providing exceptional experiences for our guests, suppliers and other partners has been instrumental in the growth of our business.”

“As we receive this honor, it is an opportunity to celebrate the strength of our culture and the ongoing efforts of our team to remain highly engaged and innovative,” said Sharon Price John, Build-A-Bear president and CEO.

The following retailers below make up the rest of America’s best retailer employers for 2021. Click here for Forbes’ full list of “America’s Best Large Employers or here for Forbes’ full list of “America’s Best Mid-Sized Employers."

10 Best Large American Retailers to Work for

  1. (Rank: 17) Costco Wholesale
  2. (Rank: 35) Trader Joe's
  3. (Rank: 38) H-E-B
  4. (Rank: 78) Kwik Trip
  5. (Rank: 80) Wegmans Food Markets
  6. (Rank: 153) Lululemon Athletica
  7. (Rank: 168) Publix
  8. (Rank: 177) Scheels All Sports
  9. (Rank: 178) PVH
  10. (Rank: 179) Sephora


10 Best Mid-Sized American Retailers to Work for

  1. (Rank: 1) Vera Bradley
  2. (Rank: 13) Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics
  3. (Rank: 28) Build-A-Bear
  4. (Rank: 35) L.L. Bean (Editor’s note: Forbes list L.L. Bean as having 6,438 employees, but includes them on the Mid-Sized list)
  5. (Rank: 73) Micro Center
  6. (Rank: 84) Boot Barn Holdings
  7. (Rank: 100) Bi-Mart
  8. (Rank: 116) Land’s End
  9. (Rank: 155) True Value
  10. (Rank: 157) 1-800-Flowers.Com

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