Amazon, Walmart and Warby Parker among retail's most innovative

To place among the year's most innovative retailers, one need not be a small and nimble startup, although it certainly helps. The top 10 retailers on Fast Company's list of the world's most innovative companies range from young and hip in Brooklyn to staid and old(er) in Bentonville, Ark.

Warby Parker topped the list "for being the Warby Parker of Warby Parkers," according to Fast Company. "It's not just a company—it's a category. As the eyewear maker opened four more brick-and-mortar stores, closed a $41.5 million round of funding, collaborated with the likes of the musician Beck, and expanded its staff to 300, it set the standard for merging online and real-world commerce while maximizing its cool."

Less cool, is Walmart (NYSE: WMT) which nevertheless came in at No. 5 after Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) and The Legaspi Company (developer of malls and lifestyle centers catering to Hispanic shoppers). Walmart is lauded for its advances in mobile—according to Walmart, app-wielding customers make twice the shopping trips per month and spend 40 percent more than non-app users—and innovations from WalmartLabs that include using GPS to navigate stores and in-app scan and pay tests. "Its stores aren't Amazon-proof yet, but they're getting there," notes Fast Company.

Amazon ranked No. 2 for its grocery delivery service AmazonFresh, same-day delivery tests in select markets and a new Sunday delivery initiative.

J.Crew's transformation under CEO Mickey Drexler ranked No. 4 for its middle-class focus and the retailer's first step overseas with a new store in London. Burberry too, got a shout out for bridging the gap between classic fashion and the modern world by integrating technology into stores.

E-commerce retailers eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY), Zady and Farfetch are on the list, but it's Macy's (NYSE: M) at No. 10 that perhaps best realized the industry's vision of omnichannel retail and mainstreamed the notion of everywhere retail, noted Fast Company. But what's next for 2014?

For more:
-See this Fast Company story

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