Whatever the implication may be for Wal-Mart, the Bentonville, Ark.-based company answered the news by touting its strengths. “Our customers are looking for shopping experiences that provide everyday low pricing and a mix of physical and digital channels that work best for their needs. We feel great about our position, with more than 4,500 stores around the country and fast-growing e-commerce and online grocery businesses,” Wal-Mart spokesperson Randy Hargoves told CSP Daily News.
But retail analyst Charlie O’Shea of Moody’s investor services, New York, believes the acquisition could prove dangerous for big-box retailers. “Implications ripple far beyond the food segment, where dominant players like Wal-Mart, Kroger, Costco and Target now have to look over their shoulders at the Amazon train coming down the tracks, but also the potential for multichannel, which Amazon, up until now, has largely eschewed,” he said.
"Today's news is a call to action to the brick-and-mortar industry to evolve quickly, and it's a reinforcement of the work we are doing to facilitate consumer-facing and e-commerce solutions," said Tony Olson, CEO of Chicago-based SPINS, a consulting firm serving the natural, organic and specialty products industry.
Some, like Erik Thoresen, principal of food-industry information and advisory service Technomic, Chicago, believe that Amazon’s next steps in brick-and-mortar could be a positive catalyst of change in the industry, at least in the long term. “Amazon will infuse new thinking into what it means to be a brick-and-mortar retailer, which means that there’s new opportunities for other retailers to follow the same path Amazon’s taking and integrate more omnichannel options into their businesses, which will then potentially fuel growth,” he said. “The long-term impacts could be more positive for brick-and-mortar than we might suspect initially.”