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Walmart Vs. Amazon – The Battle of The Retail Giants

Walmart Vs. Amazon – The Battle of The Retail Giants

What’s their next move?

Post by Barry Wolfe

Did you see this one coming?

Sam’s Club is building a small-format concept that will be “centered on convenience and a digital experience” stocking only 1,000 to 2,000 skus. (Read story here: http://www.supermarketnews.com/retail-financial/sam-s-club-develops-small-format-concept)

On the same day, it was revealed that the company opened the first of its new e-commerce fulfillment centers in Memphis, TN.

Interestingly, both announcements were made by Jamie Iannone, CEO of SamsClub.com and EVP of membership and technology.

I see this as a sign of things to come as e-commerce, fulfillment centers and brick-and-mortar locations merge in an omnichanneling landscape. In so many ways, Walmart is ahead of the game on this one. They have 660 Sam’s Clubs ands 4,672 Walmarts in the U.S. for a total of 5,332 sites. Amazon has 75 fulfillment centers and 412 Whole Foods.

This tells me that Walmart is in an excellent position to achieve penetration across a broader spectrum of markets, those that are e-commerce-friendly to slow adapters, from the coasts to rural areas. And, it also tells me that Amazon isn’t likely to sit by on such an unbalanced equation. They are likely to make a move that will allow them deeper market penetration, faster deployment, and access at a localized level. What will give them that advantage?

My inclination is toward drugstores. They’ve tackled food through Whole Foods, whose consumers mirrored their own customer profile and gave them grocery market entry via a physical location in a demographically-aligned trade area.

Next, would be medicine/drugstores/beauty. I’ve said this before as it gives them entry into a growing market segment (beauty) while gaining a foothold in a recession-resistant category (medical/drugstores). I’m not the only one thinking this is their next move. CVS is rolling out delivery for prescriptions and some over-the-counter medicines as it is said to be bracing for Amazon’s possible disruption. (Read more here: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/19/cvs-starts-drug-delivery-as-it-braces-for-expected-amazon-disruption.htmlThe drugstore’s merger with Aetna makes it an even more interesting player as Amazon has been making various supply-side moves.

Interestingly, Walmart just recently filed for several patents including a patents system for accessing medical records stored on a #blockchain, and just last month, Walmart was awarded two patents; one for a digital marketplace system that customers may use to resell items and the other geared towards facilitating customer deliveries to restricted areas using autonomous ground vehicles. Read full story here: https://www.ccn.com/walmart-patents-system-for-accessing-medical-records-stored-on-a-blockchain/

What will be Walmart’s next move? What will be Amazon’s next play?

Let me know your thoughts here: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6415976467259224064

 

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Net-Leased Retail Research (Fall 2017)

Marcus & Millichap recently released the Net-Leased Retail Research Fall 2017 Report which looks at the current net-lease landscape including key indicators such as employment, 1031-exchange activity, retail sales growth, and the 10-year Treasury. Following are key highlights I gathered from the report:

  • Job growth remains steady, with gains averaging 174,000 positions per month over the past year. This has resulted in the unemployment rate reaching the lowest level since 2001.
  • Net-leased development remains the predominant sector of overall retail construction. Of the approximately 60.4 million square feet of retail space delivered over the past year, more than 46 million square feet was composed of single tenant net-leased retail. Dollar stores, quick-service restaurants, and pharmacies are the single-tenant concepts that have experienced the most construction activity in 2017.
  • Driven by investor desire to shift their portfolios toward less management-intensive assets, 1031-exchange volumes make up a considerable portion of the net-lease marketplace. So far in 2017, exchange-related buyers encompass more than 40 percent of transaction volumes. As a result, the status of this tax provision moving forward will remain a major driver of deal flow and investment demand. Any potential changes to the tax code that significantly impact 1031 Exchanges would have a serious impact on this sector so it is certainly something to watch closely.
  • Overall, leverage on acquisition loans has continued to reflect disciplined underwriting, with LTVs typically ranging from 60 percent to 70 percent for most retail properties. Going forward, The Federal Reserve’s plans to normalize its balance sheet will place upward pressure on interest rates.

The Net Lease Report also includes a summary of credit rating, number of locations and range of cap rates related to sales by several different brands and sectors. Download the report below. As always, at the Wolfe Retail Group of Marcus & Millichap, we are available to discuss this information in depth, including any impact this may have on any of your projects. We remain optimistic that 2018 will be another strong year for our sector of the commercial real estate industry. Feel free to message me via LinkedIn.

 

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STARBUCKS SALES SNAPSHOT

By Barry Wolfe, Senior Managing Director Investments, The Wolfe Retail Group of Marcus & Millichap

Starbucks closed its online store last week to focus its attention on providing the best in-store experience possible for its customers as well as enhancing its digital app and experiences. Let’s look at the facts and how things break down with the coffee icon in this snapshot of its U.S. operations.

  • Starbucks’ revenue has continued to grow YOY with TTM sales at $22,399.20 (millions).
  • Same-store sales have have continued to growth, although the rate of growth has decelerated year-over-year for the last two years.
  • Transaction growth has remained on the positive side but declined to 1% last year from 3% in 2015.
  • Same-store transaction volume has continued to grow YOY as have average sales per square foot.

Starbucks Key Metrics Cheat Sheet

The Wolfe Perspective: I think Starbucks made the right move to focus on its retail locations and digital experiences. The coffee giant knows its strengths and understands that the future of retail is in the customer experience. They’re expanding their digital storytelling online through content development and partnerships with Amazon and Audible. At the same time, they’re funneling their online customers to the app and in-store pick-ups for a true omnichannel experience that centers around their iconic stores which have become meeting places and workspaces around the world.

  • See my video report from a Starbucks store here: https://youtu.be/a1OK2mczrpo
  • Message for Starbucks market comps or other information
  • Follow Wolfe Retail Group for more industry research and insights here: https://www.linkedin.com/company/18067219/

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