After Amazon.com Inc.’s (AMZN) major swoop into the retail food industry with its $13.7 billion bid for Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM) last month, traditional industry players have seen their shares take a hit.

As investors question brick-and-mortar retailers’ ability to stay afloat in a space disrupted by the rapid expansion of ecommerce, analysts indicate it is time for companies such as Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and the Kroger Co. (KR) to prove they have a viable strategy to combat the Seattle-based giant.

Retailers Must Make Bold M&A Moves

One former Amazon executive makes the case that a megadeal between Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart and membership-only wholesale chain Costco could slow the online retail leader. Ex-Amazon exec Brittain Ladd told The Street, “a player like Walmart’s Jet.com has the potential to affect Amazon, but no one has the potential to dethrone Amazon.”

After the AMZN-WFM deal, Ladd, who most recently served as senior manager of Amazon Global Logistics Special Projects Unit, says Wal-Mart’s best option could be an outright acquisition of Costco. The industry executive says Walmart has been struggling even harder in the recent period as rivals Target Corp. (TGT), Amazon and Costco attract the bulk of wealthier shoppers.

World Domination Predicted

As Amazon steals the spotlight and dominates Street sentiment, a shocking bid could be just what Wal-Mart needs to garner renewed enthusiasm. “The main difference between Walmart and Amazon is that Walmart sells groceries, while Amazon changes consumer behavior,” Ladd told The Street.

Ladd echoes Wall Street sentiment in warning that Amazon’s recent growth is just the beginning. He proposes that traditional retailers muster up the courage to make bold M&A moves to hedge against Amazon’s momentum. If not, the former Amazon manager says the firm will undoubtedly become the largest company on earth and dominate retail and many other areas, including banking and pharmaceuticals. (See also: Costco Sinks as Amazon Fears ‘Overshadow’ Results.)

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