Macy’s, Inc. Weakness Is Good For, Inc.

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Amazon continues to take share from traditional retailers in all categories, and department stores are currently under siege by the online retail giant. Analysts at one firm believe the company is on track to be the biggest apparel retailer in the U.S. by next year and add that Macy’s weak results only provide more support for this thesis.

Amazon heading for top spot in apparel

In a report dated May 11, Cowen and Company analyst John Blackledge and team said they see Amazon’s Apparel & Accessories business as being one of the main drivers of its EGM business, which makes up about 805 of total e-commerce sales in the U.S. They expect the U.S. Apparel segment to balloon upward from $16 billion in annual gross merchandise volume last year to $52 billion in 2020.

They add that this implies Amazon’s share in the U.S. Apparel & Accessories market more than doubles from 5% to 14% during that timeframe, which would mean that the company displaces Macy’s as the top retailer in the category by next year. They estimate that the share of U.S. Apparel in the gross merchandise volume for Amazon’s EGM segment is in the mid-teens percentages.

The Cowen team said their proprietary survey indicates that accelerating growth in Apparel purchasers is driving the online retailer’s success in this category. Further, they said Amazon is boosting the number of Apparel purchases by dramatically increasing its selection, ramping relationships with brands, offering “superior fulfillment” and through technology and/ or good photos of the selections.

Amazon takes on Macy’s

Blackledge and team said they don’t specifically track Apparel purchasers for Macy’s, but they have seen traditional retailers like Walmart and Target losing share to Amazon. In the first quarter, Amazon saw about a 19% year over year increase in Apparel purchasers, and this metric has increased an average of 28% in each quarter since 2015.

Meanwhile the number of Apparel purchasers declined 4% at Walmart and 3% at Target. Additionally, the Cowen team said Amazon had 15% more Apparel purchasers than Walmart, compared to 24% fewer in the first quarter of 2014. The online retailer had 37% more Apparel purchasers than Target, compared to 4% more in the first quarter of 2014.

Macy’s, which posted disappointing sales results for the first quarter this week, has seen its overall purchaser trend remain relatively flat over the last three years, compared to Amazon’s healthy growth over the same timeframe. They said that in March about 61% of those who participated in their survey bought from Amazon, while 14% bought at a Macy’s brick & mortar store, compared to 50% for Amazon and 13% for Macy’s in March 2013.

Macy’s shares continued to decline today, falling by as much as 2.1% to $30.72, while Amazon shares edged higher by 0.15% to $714.31 during regular trading hours today.

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