In this file:
∑ Amazonís profitless path to world domination
∑ Walmart Will Never Beat Amazon
∑ Cramer: How Wal-Mart is giving Amazon a run for its money
∑ Walmart Emulates Amazon to Beat It
∑ Wal-Mart Reports 63 Percent Rise in Online Sales
Amazonís profitless path to world domination
by Jason Karaian, Quartz
May 19, 2017
Twenty years ago this week, Amazon went public. Then an online bookseller, the company has since grown into a globe-spanning retail giant worth more than $430 billion in market cap.
Thatís a 50,000% return (give or take a few thousand percent) if you bought Amazonís shares when it first listed. The company is now the fourth most valuable firm on the US stock market.
This is all the more remarkable considering that Amazon has made just $5 billion in net profit over the past 20 years (adjusted for inflation). Exxonís profits are 100 times Amazonís since its IPO. In half that time, Facebook has made nearly five times more. And yet, investors see Amazon as worth tens of billions more than either firm.
Amazonís steady march to global domination is down to founder Jeff Bezosís famously aggressive focus on expansion over profitability, even as the retailer has matured and vanquished many of its rivals. This may soon change, with Amazon finding it increasingly difficult not to convert its massive cash flow into big profits. Half of the net profit it has generated over the past 20 years has come in the past four quarters...
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Walmart Will Never Beat Amazon
Panos Mourdoukoutas, Forbes
May 19, 2017
Walmart can spend hundreds of millions of dollars buying up online retailers. It can shatter more neighborhood stores. But it will never beat Amazon.
For a simple reason: it isn't a technology company. Itís a retailer using technology, and thatís not good enough to attract software developersóthe ultimate source of competitive advantage in the Internet space.
After watching Amazon take away sales for years, Walmart has been fighting back big time lately. The bricks and mortar retailer has been allocating enormous resources into online-retailing with a well-crafted strategy that includes the acquisition of on-line search technologies and on-line retailers. Like the acquisition of Torbit, a cloud-based website accelerator service; Inkiru, a predictive intelligence platform; OneOps, a cloud based automation technology; Adchemy, a search engine marketer; Vudu, a "leading provider" of video streaming technology; Moosejaw, a leading online outdoor retailer; and Jet.com.
These acquisitions have helped Walmart amass scale and scope for its on-line operations, a strategy that has worked well in the bricks and mortar retail business.† They have also given the company access to technology, and improve online sales, as evidenced by the most recent financial report.
That has turned some investment analysts positive on Walmart's prospects...
Cramer: How Wal-Mart is giving Amazon a run for its money
Elizabeth Gurdus, CNBC
May 18, 2017
For so long, it seemed like no company could rival e-commerce colossus Amazon, but Jim Cramer thinks one up-and-coming online competitor could give it a run for its money: Wal-Mart.
"You might think this comparison sounds crazy, even after the excellent quarter Wal-Mart just reported [on Thursday], but when you take a step back, it's pretty clear that these two companies have a lot more in common than you might expect," the "Mad Money" host said.
Before the rise of Amazon, Wal-Mart's scale and massive array of merchandise shuttered countless smaller stores because they could not compete.
"Wal-Mart was the great destroyer of retail, the great disruptor, laying waste to mom and pop stores all over the country by offering more products and undercutting them on price," Cramer explained...
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Walmart Emulates Amazon to Beat It
By Shelly Banjo, Bloomberg
May 18, 2017
In the cutthroat race for consumer dollars, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has pulled ahead.
Shares in the world's largest retailer rose 2 percent Thursday after it reported an eye-popping 63 percent year-over-year increase in the latest quarter in U.S. online sales, along with its eleventh straight quarter of year-over-year sales growth at established stores.
It's been a decades-long journey, but it seems Walmart is finally getting serious about e-commerce. It has also managed to rev up sales growth -- at a time when Target Corp. and other competitors seem to be sputtering along -- by focusing on two key factors: low prices and food.
And for good reason. Really, the only advantage Walmart still has over Amazon.com Inc. -- for now, at least -- is food. It makes up more than half of Walmart's U.S. sales; and now that the company is making online grocery ordering and in-store pick-up more widely available, food has also been driving Walmart's e-commerce sales.
But the smartest thing Walmart has done lately is aggressively slash prices, reminding consumers why they shopped at the chain in the first place. Walmart began cutting prices last year in a bid to fend off the U.S. invasion of German discounters Aldi and Lidl. Walmart's U.K. chain Asda got hammered by these companies across the pond, and Walmart has vowed to not let that happen again...
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Wal-Mart Reports 63 Percent Rise in Online Sales
New York Times
via Tampa Bay Times - May 18, 2017
Wal-Mart reported a staggering rise in online sales in the first quarter Thursday. But now the question is whether the country's largest retailer can sustain that growth to become a true competitor to the online juggernaut Amazon.
The company said e-commerce sales in the United States had grown 63 percent. That helped lift overall sales 1.4 percent to $117.5 billion.
The numbers are a sign that Wal-Mart is making headway in its fight to be as dominant online as it is across the American landscape.
Wal-Mart's strategy has several parts: expand the number of products available online, better leverage its huge physical warehouses and distribution centers to reach customers quickly across the country, and aggressively pursue deals for online stores. The company announced the acquisition of bulk e-commerce retailer Jet.com in August, part of a plan to offer customers more products through the web.
The earnings results gave only hints of about how much the bump in sales is from the acquisitions of the last year, compared with the other changes the company has made.
Wal-Mart executives said that the "majority" of the company's online growth was organic ó meaning not from the companies it had bought ó but did not break out specific numbers. And while they were hesitant to declare that such growth was the new normal, they credited an expanded online assortment for helping to lure more repeat customers willing to open their wallets a little wider...