O'Reilly Automotive: All those owners holding on to aging cars need more parts and service than ever. O'Reilly sells fan belts, alternators, headlights, and other components to two sets of customers: professional installers and at-home tinkerers who work on their own cars. The balance positions O'Reilly to benefit from a turbulent market in which thousands of Chrysler and General Motors dealers are shutting down and dispersing their maintenance business.
SHOOT: If you're cheap, and you can fix things, you'll survive these times.
Once the economy recovers, these retailers will enjoy a competitive position that has become significantly stronger over the past two years:
Aaron's. (Revenue increase since 2007: 21 percent.) This rent-to-own furniture chain has been aggressively expanding and buying up competitors, aided by an economy that favors its business model.