Amazon Beats Walmart to be World's Highest Value Retailer

By James O Malley on at

Take that, old fashioned retailers! After better results than expected, Amazon has finally topped Walmart to claim the spot as the world's highest valued retailer.

According to the Standard stock rose 14% in after-hours trading, following the announcement that quarterly profits had hit $464m - massively up on the $257m that Wall Street expected.

This gives Amazon a market capitalisation of over $250bn - ahead of Walmart's $235bn cap. As the Standard notes, in other metrics - such as turnover from sales - Walmart is still way ahead, but the market cap is based on the value of shares, which in turn is affected by how investors anticipate future growth.

The reason Amazon is valued ahead of Walmart (which owns Asda over here) then is clearly because Walmart is perceived as a mature business with a lot of fixed assets (such as loads of brick & mortar shops and staff) - whereas as a digital company moving into lots of different areas, there's more scope for Amazon to continue to grow quickly.

Interestingly too, Amazon turning a profit is a relatively unusual occurrence. Since the start CEO Jeff Bezos has pursued a strategy of reinvesting every dollar made back into the company to grow quickly, with the idea that investors will be kept happy despite lack of dividends by the prospect of even more lucrative dividends in the future. This is a strategy that seems to have worked - and also explains why Amazon, which started as a bookseller, now makes everything from original TV shows to creepy listening devices. [Evening Standard]