How do you make it onto the Bloomberg Businessweek 50? It helps if you sell inexpensive apparel, auto supplies that keep aging cars on the road, competitively priced travel packages, or goods for under a buck. The tough economy has been good to companies perceived by consumers to provide value for their hard-earned dollars—or cool digital gadgets.

Here are the 22 consumer companies on this year's list. For the complete ranking, and an explanation of our methodology, we've created an infographic where you can find a lot more information on each company.

Data compiled by Bloomberg Rankings

How do you make it onto the Bloomberg Businessweek 50? It helps if you sell inexpensive apparel, auto supplies that keep aging cars on the road, competitively priced travel packages, or goods for under a buck. The tough economy has been good to companies perceived by consumers to provide value for their hard-earned dollars—or cool digital gadgets.

Here are the 22 consumer companies on this year's list. For the complete ranking, and an explanation of our methodology, we've created an infographic where you can find a lot more information on each company.

Data compiled by Bloomberg Rankings

Consumer Stars of the Bloomberg Businessweek 50

Top Performers
Top Performers

How do you make it onto the Bloomberg Businessweek 50? It helps if you sell inexpensive apparel, auto supplies that keep aging cars on the road, competitively priced travel packages, or goods for under a buck. The tough economy has been good to companies perceived by consumers to provide value for their hard-earned dollars—or cool digital gadgets.

Here are the 22 consumer companies on this year's list. For the complete ranking, and an explanation of our methodology, we've created an infographic where you can find a lot more information on each company.

Data compiled by Bloomberg Rankings

Priceline.com
Priceline.com
Rank: No. 2
Latest 12-Month Sales: $4.1 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $23.13
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $30.29

The online booking site's recent success has been driven by international travel, particularly to emerging market destinations. Priceline shares have the best five-year performance in the S&P 500: a total return of 972 percent from 2007 to 2011.

Photograph by: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
Dollar Tree
Dollar Tree
Rank: No. 4
Latest 12-Month Sales: $6.4 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $4.01
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $4.77

The downturn has been good to Dollar Tree. The discount retailer, which sells most goods for $1 or less, opened 257 new stores in the first three quarters of last year for a total of 4,335 outlets. Chief Executive Bob Sasser is pushing into Canada and expanding the company's chain of Deal$ stores, which sell products that cost more than a buck.

Photograph by: Toby Talbot/AP Photo
Apple
Apple
Rank: No. 6
Latest 12-Month Sales: $108.2 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $35.11
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $39.17

The world's most valuable tech company entered a new era after Tim Cook took the reins from founder Steve Jobs before Jobs's death in October. Apple's revenue topped $108 billion last year on the strength of iPhones, iPads, and Macs, and analysts expect sales to increase 29 percent this year.

Photograph by: Michael Nagle/Getty Images
TJX
TJX
Rank: No. 10
Latest 12-Month Sales: $22.8 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $3.97
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $4.49

The parent of clothing chains T.J.Maxx and Marshalls sells brand-name goods at discount prices. Snazzier than Wal-Mart and cheaper than Macy's, the company occupies a middle ground that appeals to frugal fashionistas.

Photograph by: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg
O'Reilly Automotive
O'Reilly Automotive
Rank: No. 11
Latest 12-Month Sales: $5.7 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $3.74
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $4.38

Detroit's malaise has been a boon for O'Reilly Automotive: As drivers put off buying new cars, O'Reilly has increased its profit by supplying repair shops and home mechanics with parts and tools to keep their cars on the road.
McDonald's
McDonald's
Rank: No. 12
Latest 12-Month Sales: $26.4 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $5.23
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $5.73

Golden arches span the globe these days. Only about one-third of McDonald's sales come from the U.S., and the burger chain's fastest growth is in markets outside the U.S. and Europe. The company plans to open as many as 250 stores in China this year on top of the 1,400 it already has there.

Photograph by: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
CVS Caremark
CVS Caremark
Rank: No. 17
Latest 12-Month Sales: $104 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $2.80
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $3.24

Pharmacy chain CVS Caremark expects a boost in prescription customers after a dispute over drug prices between benefit provider Express Scripts and Walgreens forced millions of people to seek their medications elsewhere.

Photograph by: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Rank: No. 18
Latest 12-Month Sales: $2.2 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $6.81
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $8.65

Chipotle expanded beyond burritos this year and opened the its first Asian-themed restaurant, ShopHouse, in Washington, D.C. The company is expanding abroad, too, with outlets in Paris and London. Chipotle heads into 2012 with higher menu prices to help offset rising costs of beef, chicken, cheese, and sour cream.

Photograph by: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Estée Lauder
Estée Lauder
Rank: No. 19
Latest 12-Month Sales: $9.2 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $4.55
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $5.21

Cosmetics and skin-care company Estée Lauder enjoys increasing demand for its products from customers in the U.S. as well as Asia and other markets overseas. Shares rose 39 percent in 2011.

Photograph by: Peter Foley/Bloomberg
Nike
Nike
Rank: No. 20
Latest 12-Month Sales: $22.7 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $4.93
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $5.82

In 2006, Nike started developing products—shoes, clothing, and equipment—on a sport-by-sport basis rather than have one "apparel" unit make shirts and socks for every category. With groups focused on basketball, running, soccer, and so on, the company is now reaping rewards as better-coordinated designs have helped revive its struggling apparel business.

Photograph by: Konrad Fiedler/Bloomberg
VF
VF
Rank: No. 21
Latest 12-Month Sales: $8.7 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $8.13
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $9.49

Five of apparel maker VF's brands bring in more than $1 billion each in annual revenue: The North Face, Wrangler, Vans, Lee, and Timberland, the latter acquired for $2 billion in September. VF shares rose 47 percent in 2011.

Photograph by: Timothy Fadek/Bloomberg
Google
Google
Rank: No. 23
Latest 12-Month Sales: $35.8 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $36.89
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $44.02

Already dominant in online search advertising, Google is capturing an increasing share of display ads as well. In the mobile market more than half of all smartphones now ship with Google's Android operating system, and the company will pay $9.8 billion to acquire handset maker Motorola Mobility in a deal expected to close early this year.

Photograph by: Peter DaSilva/The New York Times via Redux
Ross Stores
Ross Stores
Rank: No. 25
Latest 12-Month Sales: $8.4 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $2.84
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $3.21

Ross Stores in Pleasanton, Calif., operates the Dress for Less discount clothing chain. Same-store sales have risen 5 percent for two quarters in a row, exceeding the company's forecasts, and Ross expanded with 32 new locations in the third quarter. Shares gained 50 percent in 2011.

Photograph by: Noah Berger/Bloomberg
Yum! Brands
Yum! Brands
Rank: No. 26
Latest 12-Month Sales: $12.1 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $2.86
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $3.23

KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell are thriving American fast-food outlets, but their future is abroad. Their parent—Yum! Brands—has almost 4,200 outlets in China and now gets about two-thirds of its revenue from overseas. Yum says India, with its growing middle class, will be its next big push.

Photograph by: Aaron M. Sprecher/Bloomberg
Starbucks
Starbucks
Rank: No. 32
Latest 12-Month Sales: $11.7 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $1.82
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $2.22

Starbucks raised the price of tall lattes and coffees by a dime in much of the U.S. at the start of the year to offset high costs of beans and other ingredients. The company is eyeing expansion overseas, with plans to open 200 new U.K. locations and triple its stores in China to 1,500 in the next five years.

Photograph by: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren
Rank: No. 37
Latest 12-Month Sales: $6.4 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $6.96
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $8.14

Although Ralph Lauren faces rising material costs, the designer clothing retailer's sales and profit grew at double-digit rates in its most recent quarter, buoyed by strong demand in the U.S. and Europe.

Photograph by: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
Wyndham Worldwide
Wyndham Worldwide
Rank: No. 39
Latest 12-Month Sales: $4.2 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $2.46
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $2.86

Wyndham, owner of such hotel chains as Days Inn and Ramada, has raised profit forecasts and exceeded analysts' expectations. The company gets three-quarters of its revenue from the U.S., but Wyndham is expanding into emerging markets, including Brazil, China, India, and Turkey.

Photograph by: Sandy Huffaker/Bloomberg News
Big Lots
Big Lots
Rank: No. 40
Latest 12-Month Sales: $5.1 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $2.87
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $3.37

Big Lots, a closeout retailer that sells excess inventory that manufacturers want to unload at a discount, added some 50 stores in the U.S. last year. The company also acquired a struggling Ontario closeout chain, Liquidation World, to expand its footprint into Canada.

Photograph by: Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg
Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola
Rank: No. 41
Latest 12-Month Sales: $46 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $3.83
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $4.14

Coke plans to invest more than $30 billion in global growth in the next five years, targeting "1 billion new middle-class consumers emerging in this decade," CEO Muhtar Kent says. The company has bolstered sales in the U.S. by rethinking packaging and pricing, including reviving the distinctive contour bottle.

Photograph by: Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg
AutoZone
AutoZone
Rank: No. 43
Latest 12-Month Sales: $8.2 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $23.04
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $26.72

AutoZone has experienced increasing sales and profit as aging cars require repairs. The company is now building up a business in which it hasn't been a big factor: selling to professional mechanics. Expanding beyond the U.S. and Mexico, AutoZone plans to open its first Brazil store in 2012.

Photograph by: Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg
Amazon.com
Amazon.com
Rank: No. 48
Latest 12-Month Sales: $43.6 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $2.28
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $3.23

The online retail juggernaut is challenging Apple's iPad head on, selling the Kindle Fire at cost to capture the money that tablet users spend on books, movies, and games. Amazon says it sold at least 4 million Kindles (both Fire and regular e-reader versions) in December.

Photograph by: Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg
DirecTV
DirecTV
Rank: No. 49
Latest 12-Month Sales: $26.4 billion
Estimated EPS Current Fiscal Year: $3.36
Estimated EPS Next Fiscal Year: $4.38

The satellite television provider added a record 1.14 million customers in the third quarter as viewers switched from cable. Much of this surge has come in Latin America, where DirecTV is adding such programming as Mexican telenovelas and Brazilian soccer.

Photograph by: Paul Taggart/Bloomberg