Death by Jeff. The juggernaut that is Inc. (AMZN) keeps rolling on, spending as much as its 301 million active users make for it. One industry after another, Amazon is putting its flag in the ground, cementing itself as the global leader in virtually everything.

Left reeling in its path are companies that are having to adapt or are close to giving up as the Bezos empire grows. Whether it be its acquisition of Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM), its potential partnership with Nike Inc. (NKE) or one of its many new departments like "Wardrobe and Handmade," Amazon is flying. (See also: Introducing Your New Wedding Planner: Amazon)

President Donald Trump has taken to Twitter on numerous occasions calling out Amazon for hurting companies, taking away jobs and not paying enough taxes.

I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!

Last July, Bezos dethroned Bill Gates as the richest person in the world. It's certainly good to be Jeff Bezos – not so these eight companies. 

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

Barnes & Noble   

The first retailer to come off the shelf (so to speak) was Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS). Amazon, which started as an online bookstore in 1995 is now the world leader in book sales. Launched in 2007, Amazon Kindle is now the dominant player in the book market. In 2014, Forbes estimated that Kindle makes up 19.5 percent of all book sales globally, and according to Morgan Stanley, Amazon has sold $5 billion in Kindle devices. Since then it's been uphill for Amazon and downhill for the retailers.

In July 2015, Barnes & Noble's share price reached an all-time high of $28.66, but as Amazon grew, so did B&N's skeptics. Since that time Amazon shares have more than doubled while shares in Barnes & Noble plummeted, hitting an all-time low in March 2018, trading at $4.10 a share, down more than 80% percent from its 2015 high. How long can Barnes & Noble hang in there? Quartz recently ran an article titled "For nearly every bookstore Barnes & Noble loses this year, Amazon will open a new one." 


The decline of Macy's Inc. (M) has been coming for a while, and Amazon's growth has hastened its downfall. Macy's 2017 first-quarter earnings disappointed, missing estimates across all metrics. The report of a 39 percent drop in profit was followed by 17 percent plunge in the stock price. The shares have since been unable to recover, making a seven-year low in November. The most recent hit was news that Amazon was introducing Amazon Wardrobe, a service where customers can try-before-you-buy with apparel, which analysts' believe is a game changer. In a May research note, Morgan Stanley estimated Amazon accounts for 7 percent of the apparel market and expects this to reach 19 percent by 2020.

Macy's isn't the only department store feeling the burn. Nordstrom Inc. (JWN) and Kohl's Corp. (KSS) are feeling the same pressure, and if the oracle of Omaha is correct, the future is anything buy rosy. "The department store is online now," Warren Buffett said at Berkshire's annual meeting in May. 


Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) was once the big fish in the retail market pond. Its subscription model was the first of its type, putting pressure on the everyday retailer. However, as Amazon continues to climb, Costco has stalled.

In 1993, Costco merged with Price Club, and in 24 years subscriptions surpassed 80 million. Compare this to Amazon Prime, which launched in 2005. As of February 2018, there were about 90 million Prime members and growth is headed in the right direction. In 2017, more new members joined Prime in 2017 than in any previous year.

While Costco is not simply a grocery store, the deal between Amazon and Whole Foods was a hit to Costco and its investors. After the announcement of the acquisition, shares of Costco fell 10 percent and slid into bear territory, trading to $150 per share in July of 2017 – their lowest level since December 2016. Shares have bounced back and were trading at around $180 in April 2018. 


Etsy Inc. (ETSY), the online marketplace for boutique goods has been on a job-cutting spree of late, firing 22 percent of its staff in two rounds in the summer of 2017. The cuts came as big brother Amazon expands its Handmade brand, which was launched in 2015. Some Etsy sellers refused to list on Amazon after complaints it was copying their products and selling them at a lower price. 

Amazon's growth has squeezed Etsy's margins to a point where listings continue to rise, but profits stagnate. After going public in 2015, its stock price rose above $30 a share. However, as profits flatlined, its share price fell, trading back below its IPO price of $16 a share before settling at around $27 a share as of April 2018. Etsy's survival hinges on its ability to retain its boutique appeal. 

Blue Apron

The timing of the Blue Apron (APRN) IPO could not have been any worse. Less than two weeks after Amazon's $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods, the New York-based meal kit delivery company hit the New York Stock Exchange and became the biggest IPO flop of 2017. Finishing its first day flat, shares of Blue Apron have seen a steady decline. 

The bad news for Blue Apron continued early July when Amazon announced it plans to enter the ready-to-eat meal business. Filing a patent with the slogan "We do the prep. You be the chef," was the last thing Blue Apron investors wanted to hear. Blue Apron shares currently trade close to $1.80 a share as of April 2018.

Foot Locker

Sports apparel retailers are already up against it. More competition, cheaper alternatives, and Millennials' shopping habits have put pressure on the company to keep store sales up. Foot Locker Inc. (FL) earnings for the first-quarter of 2017 were a big miss that saw the stock plunge 17 percent in one day, and the news that Nike – a big product for Foot Locker – will begin selling on Amazon was yet another blow for the flailing retailer.

The news was a big hit for the industry as a whole. "Shares in several major sports chains hit 52-week lows on word that Nike may soon be selling its gear directly on Amazon," the Associated Press said. 

Every Grocery Store on Earth

Amazon's recent shopping spree that included the $13.7 billion bid for high-end grocery chain Whole Foods decimated the supermarket industry's stock prices in the four trading days since the offer. The overlap of a high-end supermarket brand and a trusted e-commerce giant is a scary thought for supermarket rivals. 

A big dent to other food providers is Amazon's access to Whole Food's own 365 Brand. Consumers, will no longer have to leave the house to fulfill their organic shopping needs. The Trader Joe's runs, or weekend farmers market visit could be replaced by a click of the mouse. 

UPS and FedEx

On February 9, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon is preparing to compete with the United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx (FDX) as it takes further steps to create its own freight network. The company is working on a delivery service for businesses called "Shipping with Amazon," or SWA, a program in which Amazon will pick up packages directly from other businesses and ship them to customers. Amazon plans to pilot the service in Los Angeles and reportedly aims to expand into more cities in 2018.

The new shipping program will put the company in direct competition for the business of major US shippers UPS and FedEx and the effect on the market could be massive, especially if Amazon is able to offer lower prices than its competitors.

The Bottom Line

The meteoric rise of Amazon is nothing short of phenomenal. What started out as a small online bookstore has grown into a $650 billion ship that continues to disrupt industries and change the way goods are consumed and distributed. As its partnerships and acquisitions continue, the company structure may look a little confusing. However, the way it got there is anything but confusing. 

"We've had three big ideas at Amazon that we've stuck with for 18 years, and they're the reason we're successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient," Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said to the Washington Post. 

Want to learn how to invest?

Get a free 10 week email series that will teach you how to start investing.

Delivered twice a week, straight to your inbox.