Ever since he took over coverage of Internet stocks from Mary Meeker, Scott Devitt of Morgan Stanley has emerged as one of my favorite Wall Street analysts – not because I obsess about his ratings and price targets. Instead it is just that he often has some really great nuggets buried in his reports that make them worth scanning through. Take today for example. In his research note on Amazon.com he pointed out that Amazon today is where Walmart was twenty years ago.
In 1991, Walmart reported revenue of ~$44B, an increase of 35% over the prior year. In 2011, we estimate Amazon.com will report revenue of $49B, an increase of 43% over the prior year. Amazon.com is the Walmart of our era but it’s better, in our view – Amazon.com is the combination of a technology + logistics company, allowing it to participate in a transition of physical to digital retail supported by a store-less (in Seattle) business model that leads to higher long-term economic returns. (Morgan Stanley Research)
You can’t get more succinct than that. One can quibble about its price-to-earnings ratio or an 8 percent decline in earnings during the most recent quarter, the fact remains that Amazon is fast becoming a part of our lives. The company reported sales of $9.9 billion and net income of $191 million for the second quarter of 2011.
Of course there is one more thing Amazon and WalMart share in common – their vendors love to hate them. Or hate to love them. Or both.
Also, we are spending more with Amazon, as pointed out by Ben Schachter of Macquarie Securities.