The New York Times reports that Amazon is now the biggest retailer outside of China, topping Walmart.

Walmart, of course, is aggressively moving into Internet commerce, with some of the casualties of the changing retail dynamic the small-town Walmart outlets that displaced so many mom-and-pop stores. Enter Dollar General.


All this upheaval in less than a lifetime. Who can predict what the next 10 years, or even five, might bring? (Side note: Will there be any newspapers left to write about it?)

The pandemic accelerated the change in the standings.


Wall Street firms had been expecting this retail baton to change hands in the coming years. But the pandemic accelerated the timeline, as people stuck at home relied on deliveries. Walmart’s sales rose sharply during the pandemic, but it has not matched Amazon, which has added hundreds of new warehouses and hired about 500,000 workers since the start of last year.

Walmart’s sales grew $24 billion in the last year, the company said Tuesday. During roughly the same period, the total value of everything people bought on Amazon rose by nearly $200 billion, analysts estimate.

A reminder for those who boast of new Amazon distribution centers as economic development trophies: It is a zero-sum game in one respect. The Internet seller’s gain is a brick-and-mortar sellers’ loss.

But the customer is always right, right?