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Racked Recap 2008: The Biggest Retail Conquistadors

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With only a few days left in 2008, it's time to look back at a year of dizzying highs and crushing lows, of one major economic collapse and many minor shopping frenzies. Folks, it's the annual (two years running!) Racked Recap. This week, we'll be reliving our biggest and brightest (and saddest and darkest) moments. Take a deep breath of the sweet, sweet nostalgia.

There's certainly no shortage of chains attempting to colonize our fair city—if Gramercy gets any more Duane Reades, the company's going to wind up with a key to the park—but only three brands this year really earned the title of Retail Conquistador.

3. Muji: We know there's a backlash brewing, but we just can't stop loving the Japanese Ikea. 2008 brought the Chelsea store, the Times Square store, and the JetBlue outpost, and we wouldn't really complain if 2009 brings more.

2. Kira Plastinina: Ironically, the teen line by the Paris Hilton of Russia has to accept the award posthumously, since it passed away just before Christmas. With three big locations and an aesthetic that makes Wet Seal look like Rick Owens, Kira never made too many friends in New York, and its hasty exit seems to have alienated the entire U.S. staff.

1. American Apparel: Seriously, could it be anyone else? This summer we had to make a Google map to keep track of the many locations. Next up for the brand: A 21st store on Bleecker Street, and then a 22nd, and then a 23rd...

MUJI - Soho

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