Amazon is a retail giant that grows by the second. Or at least it seems that way. The days of going to the mall to find the right shoes and clothes are fading fast. And the days of going to the grocery store for food are fading too. In fact, all the standard brick and mortar retail companies are taking a beating, and there’s not much they can do about it. Some retailers try to compete with the giant of the retail jungle, but Amazon is too strong, too smart, and too good to lose. Amazon is the Muhammad Ali of the retail clothing industry and the Stephen Hawking of the electronic retailing. Brick and mortar retailers are falling under the pressure at an alarming rate.
The latest victims of Amazon’s quest to rule the consumer-driven American market are Foot Locker and Finish Line. Both retailers have a large presence in malls that have Sears, Macy’s, and J. C. Penney as anchors. J. C. Penney, Macy’s, and Sears are closing stores faster than a speeding bullet. Malls across the country are feeling the backlash from those store closings. More than 6,300 stores shut their doors in 2017, and retail analysts say Foot Locker and Finish Line are next. Foot Locker shares fell by 30 percent because of weak second-quarter numbers. Same store sales were off 6 percent, and earnings were $0.39 a share. Over the last three months, Foot Locker shares are down 57 percent.
Richard Johnson, the Chairman, and CEO of Foot Locker said he doesn’t worry about Amazon. Mr. Johnson said his customers don’t want to just buy a specific product they see online. Foot Locker customers want products they have a connection with, and they want to take part in the purchase of them. Johnson was talking about special store events or videos on the Foot Locker website. He was also talking about the celebrities’ who promote Foot Locker merchandise. Obviously, Johnson still believes customers want to touch and try on products before they buy, but that belief is old school. The numbers don’t lie. Foot Locker customers are not the old 1980s customers.
But retail analysts say Amazon is taking business away from Finish Line and Foot Locker and will continue to do so. More consumers are buying Nike products on Amazon, and Nike is the brand that keeps the Foot Locker and Finish Line doors open.