Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

For two decades, Amazon has grown like wildfire, eschewing profit, pouring all its revenue back into itself, and leaving a wake of destruction in retail. Now it's going in for the kill.

Amazon has launched more than 100 private-label products, by market research firm Gartner L2's count. “That’s going to be a major part of what we think of as the future of retail," says Donald Ngwe, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.

  • The massive amounts of data Amazon has on its consumers give it unparalleled insights into what shoppers really want, says James Thomson, a former Amazon executive who now advises brands that sell on the platform.
  • By selling more of its own products, Amazon is competing against the sellers on its own marketplace — and starting to catch the attention of regulators and anti-trust lawyers.

Physical stores: At the beginning of 2018, Amazon made waves with its announcement of "Go" — a cashierless convenience store. By the end of the year, it had opened six of them across the country, with plans for as many as 3,000 more by 2021.

  • Add those to Amazon's bookstores — 18 and counting — and "4-star" stores, where it sells goods that earned over 4 stars on its site.
  • Tack on the more than 450 Whole Foods stores that Amazon also owns plus its reported plans to open even more of them.
  • All told, the e-commerce giant is well on its way to establishing a brick-and-mortar presence in every major city in the country.

Amazon responded to this story:

“There is an important difference between horizontal breadth and vertical depth. We operate in a diverse range of businesses, from retail and entertainment to consumer electronics and technology services, and we have intense and well-established competition in each of these areas. Retail is our largest business and we represent less than 1% of global retail and around 4% of U.S. retail. In addition, Amazon’s private label products are less than 1% of our total sales. This is far less than other retailers, many of whom have private label products that represent 25% or more of their sales.”
— An Amazon spokesperson

Note: This story was updated on January 14 with a quote from an Amazon spokesperson.

Special report: The future of retail

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In photos: Deadly wildfires devastate California's wine country

The Shady Fire ravages a home as it approaches Santa Rosa in Napa County, California, on Sept. 28. The blaze is part of the massive Glass Fire Complex, which has razed 46,600 acres at 2% containment. Photo: Samuel Corum/Agence France-Presse/AFP via Getty Images

Some 18,700 firefighters are battling 27 major blazes across California, including in the heart of the wine country, where one mega-blaze claimed the lives of three people and forced thousands of others to evacuate this week.

The big picture: 8,155 wildfires have burned across a record 3.86 million acres, killing 26 people and razing almost 7,900 structures in California this year, per Cal Fire. Just like the deadly blazes of 2017, the wine country has become a wildfires epicenter. Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma, and Shasta counties.