Walmart Crushes Amazon
Old-world brick-and-mortar retailers were supposed to be in great trouble as e-commerce seized a lion’s share of the industry. Some retailers, like Bed Bath & Beyond and Gap, have nearly gone out of business. It is popular to blame Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), the online retail giant that has become America’s second-largest company by revenue. Instead, the biggest company by that count, Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT), has trounced Amazon in the stock market. It is a situation few people would have believed a year ago.
So far this year, Walmart’s stock is down 2%, while the S&P has fallen 19% and Amazon is down by 42%. Amazon’s market cap has dropped below $1 trillion for the first time since 2020.
The reason for the stock performance is expectations. Walmart was supposed to be on the ropes, with earnings in retreat. Instead, revenue rose 8.4% last quarter to $152.9 billion. Net income rose 20.4% to $5.1 billion.
In the most recent quarter, Amazon posted mediocre results that disguised its e-commerce problems. Overall revenue rose from $111 billion a year ago to $127 billion. Net income rose from $2.9 billion to $3.2 billion. However, Amazon lost money in both its North America and International e-commerce businesses. Only a strong performance by Amazon Web Services helped the bottom line.
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There are several arguments about why Amazon has done poorly. One is that people have returned to physical stores as COVID-19 infection rates and deaths have fallen. Another is that Walmart has a huge grocery business that is growing quickly and Amazon does not. Also, logistics problems at distribution centers have hurt Amazon’s delivery services.
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The retail industry in general will continue to be hurt by Amazon, and the weakest retailers may be taken under by online retailers. However, Walmart is arguably America’s strongest retailer and does not face that problem.
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