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14. Ross Stores
14. Ross Stores
2010 Fortune 500 rank: 316
2009 profit growth: 45.0%
2009 revenue growth: 10.8%

CEO since 1996: Michael Balmuth

Michael Balmuth tried to stay out of retail - the career path taken by almost everyone in his family. But after a graduate degree in health care administration and a hospital job, Balmuth joined Bambergers.

As CEO of Ross, more than half of his 950 stores are in Texas, California or Florida, making him well positioned to cater to recession-weary fashionistas.

In 2009, sales were up 11% to $7.2 billion, as profits jumped 45%, to $443 million.

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Last updated April 28 2010: 12:37 PM ET
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