The table below shows Business Week’s latest top 50 corporate performers for 2007. The rankings are based on profitability, sales growth, and market value.

What we learn from it is this: Every one of the top 10 performers has found a way to innovate, especially in its business model and business design.  

Here is what Business Week said about Coach, the #1, performer: 

The handbag maker moved quickly when it understood that its aspirational customers might suddenly hesitate at spending $900 for one of its Legacy handbags. Coach quickly rolled out more affordable lines of bags for as little as $160. 

And about #2, Gilead Sciences:

The Northern California biotech firm sensed an opportunity for any company that could develop drugs that were simpler and cheaper than standard HIV treatments, which required patients to take dozens of different pills throughout the day. Gilead’s researchers simplify those cumbersome treatments by combining myriad compounds into a single pill, Atripla, that costs just $1,300 a month and is taken at bedtime.

Going on down the list, we learn what strategy guru Gary Hamel has been saying for years: Truly powerful innovation changes the rules of the game in an industry, by redefining the way companies do business. When they succeed, profitability and sales growth soar.

2008
Rank

2007
Rank

Company Name

Overall
Grade

Profitability
%

Profitability
Grade

Sales
Growth
Rate %

Sales
Growth
Grade

Market Value*
($bil)

12-mo.
Sales
($bil)

12-mo.
Net Income
($bil)

One-yr.
Total Return

Three-yr.
Total Return

Sector

 

COACH 

A   

60.5 

A   

24.1 

A   

10.0 

2.9 

0.7 

-41.8 

-4.0 

Consumer Discretionary

GILEAD SCIENCES 

A   

45.0 

A   

47.5 

A   

45.2 

4.2 

1.6 

40.9 

180.5 

Health Care

26 

ALLEGHENY TECHNOLOGIES 

A   

43.2 

A   

27.2 

A   

7.5 

5.5 

0.7 

-25.7 

224.3 

Materials

VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS 

A   

13.8 

A   

11.1 

A- 

99.7 

93.5 

5.5 

-0.1 

14.2 

Telecommunication Services

QUESTAR 

A   

24.3 

A   

11.9 

A- 

9.9 

2.7 

0.5 

37.8 

95.4 

Utilities

34 

APPLE 

A   

31.6 

A   

38.3 

A   

112.4 

26.5 

4.1 

44.7 

217.7 

Information Technology

COLGATE-PALMOLIVE 

A   

58.0 

A   

9.0 

B- 

39.3 

13.8 

1.7 

19.5 

56.9 

Consumer Staples

BJ SERVICES 

A   

37.3 

A   

22.5 

C   

7.4 

4.9 

0.7 

-6.2 

4.7 

Energy

ABERCROMBIE & FITCH 

A   

56.4 

A   

22.5 

A   

6.5 

3.7 

0.5 

2.5 

34.5 

Consumer Discretionary

10 

MEMC ELECTRONIC MATERIALS 

A   

46.3 

A   

24.7 

B+ 

19.1 

1.9 

0.8 

50.8 

485.8 

Information Technology

Market Value*
($bil)

12-mo.
Sales
($bil)

12-mo.
Net Income
($bil)

One-yr.
Total Return

Three-yr.
Total Return

Sector

 

10.0 

2.9 

0.7 

-41.8 

-4.0 

Consumer Discretionary

45.2 

4.2 

1.6 

40.9 

180.5 

Health Care

7.5 

5.5 

0.7 

-25.7 

224.3 

Materials

99.7 

93.5 

5.5 

-0.1 

14.2 

Telecommunication Services

9.9 

2.7 

0.5 

37.8 

95.4 

Utilities

112.4 

26.5 

4.1 

44.7 

217.7 

Information Technology

39.3 

13.8 

1.7 

19.5 

56.9 

Consumer Staples

7.4 

4.9 

0.7 

-6.2 

4.7 

Energy

6.5 

3.7 

0.5 

2.5 

34.5 

Consumer Discretionary

19.1 

1.9 

0.8 

50.8 

485.8 

Information Technology

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