Amazon

Amazon Tracker: Busy Week

Amazon stock (AMZN) looks to be back on an upward track after a bit of a down note in the first week of March. Since Tuesday of last week, AMZN has risen over $8, or about 1 percent, tracking toward the all-time high shares hit in the third week of February.

Amazon opened flat on Monday morning but rose soon after. At the time of writing, AMZN stock was worth $854.71, up 0.28 percent from Friday’s close. The market cap sat at just over $407.5 billion.

It was a big week over at Amazon across categories, services, and investments. There’s a lot to get through, so hold onto your hats.

First up, Amazon continues to grow its presence in the Indian market.

Currently, Amazon hopes to take advantage of recently loosened restrictions on foreign retailers in India by expanding its online grocery venture into the nation of some 1.3 billion. As of now, Amazon is waiting on India’s Trade Ministry for approval.

If approved, the online retail giant looks to invest $500 million to sell groceries, mostly local produce and culinary staples, direct to consumer via its online platform.

This isn’t Amazon’s first grocery project in India. Back in 2015, the company launched its Prime Now service in Bangalore, which included some restricted and hyperlocal grocery delivery. However, the company’s recent grocery plans point toward something much larger.

“We are excited by the government’s continued efforts to encourage foreign direct investment (FDI) in India for a stronger food supply chain,” an Amazon spokeswoman said. “We have sought an approval to invest and partner with the government in achieving this vision.”

Additionally, the grocery move will allow Amazon to better compete with local rival Flipkart, which also has its sights set on the online groceries, said Reuters.

Over the past few years, Amazon has invested billions of dollars in establishing a presence in India’s fast-growing online retail market. The company developed a logistics network across the country and has risen to the second largest eCommerce player. India now has Amazon, Amazon Prime membership options and Amazon Video. Additionally, Amazon is testing a P2P marketplace in Bangalore.

In the Middle East, Amazon has resurrected acquisition talks with Dubai-based online retailer Souq.com.

In January, Amazon’s months-long acquisition talks with Souq.com went south after a disagreement over price. At the time, Amazon was looking to make an offer for all of Souq.com. Souq, however, was only looking to sell some 30 percent of the company.

Souq.com became one of the highest-valued internet companies in the Middle East after a $275 million round of funding in 2016. Amazon was looking to pay $1 billion to gain access to the high-growth eCommerce market in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Now that talks are back on, Amazon has another chance to penetrate the Middle Eastern online retail market.

Stateside, the coveted millennial market accounted for the largest share of online apparel revenue in 2015 and 2016, according to insight from market research and analytics firm Slice Intelligence.

As for where millennials spent their apparel budget, Slice found that millennials are most likely to turn to Amazon. The 18-to-34-year-old demographic purchased 16.6 percent of its clothing on Amazon — double the online millennial purchase volume of runner-up Nordstrom.

Some even project that Amazon will surpass Macy’s to become the biggest clothing retailer in the U.S. in 2017, said GeekWire. According to a report by Cowen & Co., Amazon’s clothing and accessory sales could rise 30 percent this year to hit $28 billion. Amazon’s share of millennial apparel dollars could inflate even further in the next few years as the online retail giant continues its private label push.

The company has been building out its private-label offerings for the apparel category since at least the end of 2015. The most recent development for apparel coming earlier this year, when reports indicated Amazon might be preparing to launch its own line of workout clothes. According to a report by analytics firm One Click Retail, Amazon has launched over 50 private-label products across categories in the past three months.

On the brick-and-mortar end, Amazon announced the opening of its tenth bookstore operation. Along with the new location in Seattle, Amazon also has plans to boost its book-selling presence in Chicago, New York City and New Jersey, along with at least two other locations later this year according to the company’s Q4 earnings outlook.

The Amazon bookstores naturally offer digital experience alongside the analog texts, using the physical stores as a way to test out Echo and Kindle devices. The bookstores also act as marketing tools for Amazon Prime memberships, as members can purchase books and items for the same price that they sell for on Amazon’s website. Non-members pay list price.

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