Ascena Retail Group Inc. (NASDAQ: ASNA), owner of Ann Taylor and Lane Bryant, went under financially and took with it 16,000 stores that will be closed. A theory that is over a decade-old is that Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) caused this. There is some truth in that because of Amazon’s size. Additionally, Amazon defenders would claim some troubled retailers took on too much debt. Beyond that, these traditional retailers may have stolen from their stores via their own e-commerce efforts.
Ascena Retail claimed the pandemic took it under. However, other retailers have enough cash to keep themselves in business. That makes the claim at least partially a weak excuse, particularly to over 20,000 workers the collapse will cut loose.
Amazon’s retail revenue in the most recently reported quarter was $65 billion, and it is growing. On an annual run rate, the number is probably $300 billion. Looked at on the same basis, the revenue of Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) one of America’s most well-known retailers, is about $2 billion. One argument is that Macy’s has selected merchandise people won’t buy, even if the pandemic had never happened. That could account for some of the reason, but not all of it.
Another means to measure what happened to Ascena Retail is that its market cap is $5 million. Amazon’s is $1.5 trillion. That has to be more than the combined value of most public retailers in America, unless Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is part of the calculation. Its market cap is $372 billion.
The market cap calculation may not say everything about the rise of Amazon, but it certainly tells a lot.