Amazon to Beat Walmart in Apparel by Year-End: Wells Fargo

E-commerce and cloud computing giant Inc. (AMZN) will continue to outperform the broader market, this time at the expense of the world's largest retailer, Walmart Inc. (WMT), according to one team of bulls on the Street. 

Amazon Apparel Gross Sales to $30 Billion in 2018

In a note to clients on Monday, analysts at Wells Fargo lifted their 12-month price target on shares of the Seattle-based e-retailer to $2,300, reflecting an 18% upside from current levels. The investment firm attributed much of its bullish forecast to Amazon's burgeoning apparel business, expecting its apparel and footwear gross sales to exceed $30 billion in 2018 and eclipse Walmart as the market leader.

(See also: 5 Reasons Amazon May Double to $2 Trillion.)

"Amazon dominates the online market for apparel and footwear (35 percent of share, or four times the #2 player) and they even have remarkably high market share in the total apparel/footwear market in the U.S.," wrote Wells Fargo's Ike Boruchow. He added that the gross merchandise value (GMV) of apparel and footwear sold on Amazon's platform approached $25 billion last year, "representing five times to six times the amount of softlines sold on the site just 5 years earlier."

Amazon has doubled down on building out its core e-commerce business with diverse offerings in all corners of retail and by partnership with companies such as Nike Inc. (NKE), who have joined the growing group of consumer brands embodying the "if you can't beat em', join em'" perspective. 

Boruchow applauded Amazon's success in driving traffic to its site, writing that in the second quarter, its number of unique visitors skyrocketed to 190 million, or 75% of all web users. Amazon's Prime subscriber base, wherein consumers spend an average of twice as much on the platform, is also growing at a fast pace, surpassing 100 million paying members at the end of 2017. 

Shares of Amazon are up 0.6% on Tuesday morning at $1,949.71, reflecting a 66.7% return year-to-date (YTD) compared to the S&P 500's 7.6% increase over the same period. Earlier this year, Amazon briefly became the second U.S. corporation to reach a $1 trillion market capitalization

(See also: Amazon to Be #1 in Apparel in 2018: Morgan Stanley.)

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