Industry rank: 3
Despite its position in the hard-hit luxury retail sector, Nordstrom never posted a quarterly loss during the downturn -- a testament to its exceptional customer service and trendy wares (just ask anyone who's obsessed with its legendary shoe department).
Now Nordstrom is fighting for market share in the hyper-competitive department-store industry. But its bedrock principle of customer service -- customers say it will refund items at any time -- has driven its stock performance past that of Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue by a wide margin over the past five years.
NEXT: Altria Group