retail news in context, analysis with attitude

CNBC featured an interview yesterday with Ron Johnson - the former head of Apple Retail and CEO of JC Penney - in which he suggested that "the only retailer that's truly taking Amazon seriously is Walmart," and argued that since "Walmart generates five times the net income that Amazon does," it "has the resources to take them on."

However, the story says, "Johnson pointed out that Walmart will still need to figure out how to compete better to counteract Amazon's skyrocketing growth."

Johnson said: "What do you do in store to beat Amazon? What do we do with our merchandise to make sure it's differentiated and preferred? How do we price goods? I would put Amazon on the wall. I would paint it on the billboards and I would say, we are going to find a way to beat Amazon because that is what's going to change the game here."

And, Johnson argued against the border tax that is being proposed in Washington, DC: "We're in a very difficult time. Many retailers are on the brink as they begin to close stores, as the malls they're in start to close and change, so it's a very difficult environment. And you add something like a major need to put a price increase on products and it could have a very serious impact on many. Almost every retailer is forecasting comp sales flat or down next year. If you have a border tax and they're forced to raise prices, that's going to further decrease their sales and keep people out of stores."
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