Poor results for the holiday quarter were supposed to injure Wall Street’s sentiment on Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN). On the contrary, it has continued to rise, leaving observers to ask whether the relentless progress of e-commerce has overcome a downturn in Amazon’s fortunes.
Oddly, Amazon may be the beneficiary of a crop of store closings by retailers as diverse as Staples Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS), Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) and Sears Holdings Corp. (NYSE: SHLD). If the problems this represents are primarily a drop in sales and managements’ forecasts, then it would be hard to argue that any company other than Amazon has taken and will take those sales.
The problem with brick-and-mortar stores apparently has turned to the fact than many retailers have too many locations. Burdened by the costs of rent, logistics, and employees, the industry continues to retreat to its most profitable locations. A vicious cycle gets created. The fewer locations, the fewer places for customers to visit. The fewer customers …
Amaz0n’s share price is up 3% in the last month. In contrast, the shares of the nation’s largest retailer — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) — are flat. Amazon’s advance comes despite a fourth quarter during that its profits were a tiny $239 million, and a forecast which triggers negative reactions from many financial analysts.
Investors may not have to look any further than the data about Amazon’s online dominance. According to comsSore, Amazon’s online desktop unique visits were 104 million in January. Walmart was a distant second at 35 million. Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) was the only other retailer on the list of the 50 most-visited sites in the United States at 24 million. That advantage, plus the number of stores being closed tell enough of a story to keep Amazon’s shares high.