retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Fortune reports that the focus on a better store environment and higher wages being paid by Walmart may be paying off, as a new study by Wall Street firm Cowen & Co. points to higher shopper ratings.

According to the story, "Some 75% of customers in Cowen’s rolling survey of 2,506 shoppers in September said they were satisfied with the overall shopping experience, Walmart’s highest score since June 2013 on that front. On customer service, 60% of shoppers were satisfied, the best the retailer has fared in two years."

The story notes that Walmart still has a long way to go: "Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran said recently that one-third of stores still get a failing grade."


Business Insider has a story noting that while the investor class seems to be worried about Walmart's long-term prospects and far more optimistic about Amazon's, "Walmart's critics are ignoring a key advantage it has over Amazon: an extensive network of stores and distribution centers, according to analysts for Moody's Investors Service.

"That network puts Walmart in a better position than Amazon to win the long-term battle for shoppers, Moody's analysts write in a new research note. 'Walmart is much better placed to catch up to Amazon online than Amazon is to catch up to Walmart in brick-and-mortar, and as a result, Walmart will remain the most powerful retailer in the world,' the analysts write."
KC's View:
I have one big problem with the Moody's analysis - the line that "Walmart is much better placed to catch up to Amazon online than Amazon is to catch up to Walmart in brick-and-mortar, and as a result, Walmart will remain the most powerful retailer in the world."

I'm not sure that Amazon needs to catch up with Walmart in terms of bricks-and-mortar to be the most powerful retailer in the world. I think it is entirely possible for Amazon to catch up with Walmart in terms of total sales and claim that crown ... and I also think that one could argue right now that Amazon has changed the retail world to a greater degree than Walmart has. At the very least, the Moody's comment is a non-sequitur and betrays a bias that in the long run may prove unsupportable.