Amazon beats Wal-Mart as biggest retailer

Online retailer Amazon surprised analysts with better-than-expected earnings for the second quarter.
Online retailer Amazon surprised analysts with better-than-expected earnings for the second quarter.PHOTO: EPA

SEATTLE • Amazon.com surpassed Wal-Mart Stores as the world's biggest retailer by market value after a surprise second-quarter profit sent the e-commerce company's stock into record territory.

Amazon shares rose 9.8 per cent to US$529.42 (S$727) on Friday, giving the Seattle-based company a value of US$247.6 billion. That compares with Wal-Mart's US$230.5 billion market capitalisation.

Wal-Mart still dwarfs Amazon in terms of sales, with about five times its annual revenue.

But Amazon has solidified its dominance in e-commerce, forcing its big-box rival to play catch-up.

Wal-Mart is investing heavily in its Web operations and developing its own online subscription service to compete with Amazon Prime.

Amazon's market value has been steadily gaining on Wal-Mart's. Amazon was already up 55 per cent this year through Thursday's close, while Wal-Mart has slid 16 per cent.

Amazon posted revenue of US$23.2 billion last quarter, a 20 per cent gain. Net income was US$92 million, or 19 cents a share, the company said. Analysts had estimated a loss of 14 cents.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 26, 2015, with the headline 'Amazon beats Wal-Mart as biggest retailer'. Print Edition | Subscribe