We may look back on June 16th "as the day retail changed forever," according to a report Monday by investment research firm Morningstar. That's the day Amazon bought Whole Foods for a whopping $13.7 billion and sent investors scurrying from grocery stocks, as they prepared for Amazon to bring its affinity for razor-thin profit margins to the supermarket segment.
The story of Amazon is of a company steadily spreading into new product categories and crushing the competition, but Morningstar argues that Amazon's reach does have its limits. Analyst R.J. Hottovy lists the following firms as "the most likely survivors" of Amazonization:
- Lowe's: home improvement retailers benefit from the high price of shipping the bulky goods they have on offer;
- Costco: The bulk retailer benefits from its gasoline business, an item that Amazon's Whole Foods doesn't sell.
- Walmart: Even though America's largest retailer fights Amazon head on in most markets, Hottovy says Walmart's sheer scale and close relationships with suppliers means it can compete on price.