Sunday, February 18, 2018
Business

Amazon sales growing but still behind top retailers

You might call Amazon the Napoleon of retail — aggressive by nature but relatively small in stature.

Despite all the talk about how Amazon has revolutionized shopping and sent brick-and-mortar stores into a tizzy, the online retailer is not as big as you might think.

The latest Top 100 list of largest retailers ranks Amazon ninth in U.S. sales, behind Walgreens, Home Depot and other retailers considered more mundane than planet changing.

No surprise, Wal-Mart topped the list, followed by Kroger supermarkets, Costco and Target. The list was compiled by Kantar Retail, consulting for the National Retail Federation, the world's largest retail trade association.

Perhaps most notable is the sales spread among the top 10. While Amazon did an impressive $44 billion in U.S. sales in 2013, that was small potatoes compared with Wal-Mart. The Bentonville, Ark., discount chain rang up $334.4 billion — nearly eight times more than Amazon. That's almost 1 billion dollars a day.

Even ho-hum Walgreens and CVS blew past Amazon, a result that should comfort brick-and-mortars that location does matter and street corners can trump home computers. Walgreens had $68.1 billion in sales, just ahead of CVS and its $65.6 billion.

The top retailers are heavy in the grocery business, a segment mostly untapped by e-commerce and one that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is strongly pursuing. No. 2 on the list was Kroger, the country's largest supermarket chain, which had sales more than double Amazon's. No. 10 was Safeway, which has no presence in the Southeast, including Florida.

Amazon's ranking was the first time in the list's more than 20-year history that the company cracked the top 10, suggesting retail's shift toward online sales. Last year, the Seattle-based retailer placed 11th.

Amazon didn't just slide into the top 10. It leaped. Its 2013 U.S. sales were up 27.2 percent over the previous year, a boost so big it might seem like a typo to other retailers.

Among the top 10, Home Depot came the closest to that, with a 6.6 percent increase. Wal-Mart's sales were up 1.7 percent, about the same as Kroger's and Walgreens'. Target's were down almost 1 percent, most likely because of the data breach that affected credit and debit cards near the holiday season. Bottom line: The top U.S. retailers aren't making huge gains or expanding wildly. Most are just holding their own.

For the takeaway, I refer back to comments made by Gary Ralston, managing partner of a Coldwell Banker commercial brokerage in Polk County. At the Retail Smarter conference in Orlando last month, he said retailers should be watching Wal-Mart, not Amazon — or any Internet seller for that matter. Wal-Mart has the volume and buying power. It also doesn't have the costly burden of delivering items to people's doors, as Amazon does.

"Wal-Mart is always going to be bigger than the Internet,'' he said.

Ikea made headlines a few weeks ago when it announced it is raising its average hourly minimum wage to $10.76 at its U.S. stores.

But Aldi says it already offers above-average industry wages. The no-frills grocery chain is holding a job fair today in Oldsmar to hire store associates, shift managers and manager trainees for its stores in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

The hiring event will be from 6 a.m. to noon and 1 to 6 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott, 4014 Tampa Road in Oldsmar, where a new store is opening this fall. Positions pay $10.50 an hour for store associates, $14.50 an hour for shift managers and $21 an hour for manager trainees.

Candidates must be at least 18 and have a high school diploma or equivalency. Employees working at least 20 hours a week receive health insurance, dental coverage and 401(k) benefits.

Contact Susan Thurston at [email protected] or (813) 225-3110. Follow @susan_thurston.

Comments
Trump administration recommends stiff penalties on steel, aluminum imports

Trump administration recommends stiff penalties on steel, aluminum imports

The Tampa arm of Brazilian steelmaker Gerdau S.A. was cautiously optimistic Friday after the Trump administration took a big step toward a policy Gerdau has been vocally advocating for — higher tariffs on imported steel. "We’re hopeful that President...
Published: 02/16/18
Facebook forges ahead with kids app despite expert criticism

Facebook forges ahead with kids app despite expert criticism

Associated PressNEW YORK — Facebook is forging ahead with its messaging app for kids, despite child experts who have pressed the company to shut it down and others who question Facebook’s financial support of some advisers who approved of the app. Me...
Published: 02/16/18
Inexpensive Tampa Bay homes gain the most value of any in U.S.

Inexpensive Tampa Bay homes gain the most value of any in U.S.

Owners of affordable homes in the Tampa Bay region are seeing the biggest gains in equity among the nation’s top 20 housing markets. A bay area home now worth $110,000 rose 20 percent in value over the past year while a house now worth $337,400 incr...
Published: 02/16/18
Amid CareerSource controversy, allegations of a love affair, big raises and family favoritism at the top

Amid CareerSource controversy, allegations of a love affair, big raises and family favoritism at the top

The anonymous letter described a possible love affair at the top of the local jobs center. President and CEO Edward Peachey was in a romantic relationship with top administrator Haley Loeun, it said.It described how Loeun was seen at a conference co...
Published: 02/16/18
Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s experimenting with takeout-only locations

Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s experimenting with takeout-only locations

Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba’s Italian Grill have become household names in casual dining. Now, their parent company, Tampa-based Bloomin’ Brands is taking the "dining" part out in a concept that it’s bringing to Tampa Bay for the first time. A ne...
Published: 02/16/18
Which Tampa Bay ZIPs had the priciest, least expensive and most house sales in 2017?

Which Tampa Bay ZIPs had the priciest, least expensive and most house sales in 2017?

If you bought or sold a house in Tampa Bay last year, you were a player in one of Florida’s hottest real estate markets.Even though prices eased a bit from their torrid pace in 2016, the median cost of a single family home shot up 11 percent. That’s ...
Published: 02/16/18
Florida’s liquor license lottery can make you a ton of money. So why is it such a secret?

Florida’s liquor license lottery can make you a ton of money. So why is it such a secret?

Every year, millions of people play the Florida Lotto. Their chances of winning are about as great as those of being struck by a comet. Fewer than 12,000 enter a much lesser known lottery that also is run by the state. Yet the odds of winning are vas...
Published: 02/16/18
Travel insurance company brings tree houses, beer kegs and creativity to former church

Travel insurance company brings tree houses, beer kegs and creativity to former church

ST. PETERSBURG — Neither the Lutherans who first occupied the 4300 block of Central Avenue, nor the evangelical congregation that followed could ever have imagined tree houses sprouting in their church sanctuary.Yet that’s one of the plans of new own...
Published: 02/16/18
Prosecutors drop drug case against ConnectWise co-founder David Bellini

Prosecutors drop drug case against ConnectWise co-founder David Bellini

TAMPA — ConnectWise co-founder David Bellini won’t be prosecuted on a drug trafficking charge filed by Tampa police this week, the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office announced Thursday. The county’s top prosecutor instead applauded police for helpi...
Published: 02/15/18
Tropicana Field may be named for a Pepsi product, but it will now only serve Coke

Tropicana Field may be named for a Pepsi product, but it will now only serve Coke

ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay Rays’ stadium may be named for PepsiCo’s Tropicana orange juice, but that’s not stopping the baseball team from switching its pouring rights to Coke.The Rays said Wednesday the ballpark would begin serving Coca-Cola pro...
Published: 02/15/18