It’s a clash of the retail titans, with Amazon and Walmart long battling it out for market dominance. But according to the National Retail Federation, one name has gained the upper hand.
Walmart earned the No. 1 spot in Stores magazine’s annual top 100 retailers list, which ranks the nation’s leading merchants based on sales. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company made nearly $375 billion in sales last year, retaining 5,328 stores across the country. For comparison, Amazon, which found itself at third place, raked in around $103 billion in sales, backed by 456 stores in the same period.
As the industry continues to shift pace, Walmart has managed to change up its business model to become a truly omni-channel retailer. Just this summer, the company rolled out a redesigned website, effectively transforming itself from a discount site to an online destination for higher-end shoppers. It’s also been aggressively upping the ante on digital with the acquisitions of Jet.com, ModCloth and Bonobos within the past 18 months.
In the brick-and-mortar sphere, Walmart made the decision to shutter more than 60 Sam’s Club stores, investing its $11 billion capital budget into 20 new stores and the remodeling of 500 older units. It’s also introducing a buy-online, pickup-in-store service as well as mobile scan-and-go in an effort to improve customer convenience by helping them avoid checkout lines.
Competitively, Amazon took a page out of Walmart’s playbook, buying Whole Foods Market Inc. almost a year ago to capitalize on the grocery delivery space — all while placing kiosks and pop-up shops in stores to sell its in-house Echo, Fire TV and Kindle devices. (Walmart established its first Supercenter in 1988.) The Seattle-based online disruptor also raised the cost of its Prime membership from $99 to $119 — a year after debuting its try-before-you-buy Prime Wardrobe shopping service.
Other retailers that made the top five were Kroger (No. 3), Costco (No. 4) and The Home Depot (No. 5). Compiled with research group Kantar Consulting, the list reveals that little has changed in the top 10 over the past several years. These top retailers “have done some really smart things to modernize and reinvigorate their strategies,” said Bryan Gildenberg, chief knowledge officer at the firm.
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