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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amazon's competitors are multiplying. Traditional retailers are trying to replicate the e-commerce giant's playbook.

Driving the news: Macy’s is set to launch a third-party sellers marketplace next year, the company said today, becoming the latest legacy retailer to enter an arena dominated by Amazon.

Why it matters: The pandemic helped brick-and-mortar stores get even better at selling online — handing consumers more buying options and putting pressure on Amazon to stay competitive.

By the numbers: Amazon's year-over-year sales growth during the third quarter, at 15%, was its slowest in almost seven years.

  • Meanwhile, Macy’s digital sales were up 19% in Q3.

What they’re saying: A third-party marketplace could be beneficial to Macy's existing e-commerce business because the platform could generate commissions like Amazon does, without needing Macy's to hold any additional inventory, David Swartz, a consumer equity research analyst at Morningstar, tells Axios.

  • Third-party sellers want to be on as many platforms as possible to reach as many people as possible, as long as selling conditions are similar, Zachary Warring, an equity analyst at CFRA Research, says.

The big picture: While their digital efforts are paying off, retailers are still opting to shed underperforming brick-and-mortar locations.

  • Macy's is in the midst of closing 125 department stores (it's also hired consultants to evaluate a proposal by activist investor Jana Partners to monetize its e-commerce business).
  • CVS today said it'll close about 300 stores every year for the next three years. 

What to watch: While Amazon may be forced to lower its take from sales, it will likely continue to have the biggest audience, says Warring.

  • Yes, but: "It will be interesting to see if other [players] can start [to] lead in niche markets such as apparel or grocery," he added.

Go deeper

The biggest local shopping season yet

Shopapalooza 2021. Photo: Rob Moorman/Moorman Photographics

This holiday season, one thought might count the most: where you get your gifts.

Why it matters: After many consumers chose online shopping over brick and mortar stores during the pandemic, small business owners are counting on this holiday season like never before.

Updated 5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

The latest: Lawyers for James and Jennifer Crumbley told the Detroit News they are "returning to the area to be arraigned," after law enforcement officials announced a search for the Crumbleys had been initiated.

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