In this Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, photo, an Amazon employee sorts items brought to him by robotic shelves at the Amazon Fulfillment center in Robbinsville Township, N.J. Amazon is holding a giant job fair Wednesday, Aug. 2, and plans to make thousands of job offers on the spot at nearly a dozen U.S. warehouses. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Not all the mentions indicate worry about Amazon's presence, with some companies talking up partnerships with Amazon Julio Cortez / AP

Ecommerce giant Amazon hangs over US retail sector



Second-quarter reports from U.S. companies slowed to a trickle this week, but Amazon.com continues to pop up as a topic on corporate conference calls.

The e-commerce titan has been mentioned about 165 times on conference calls of S&P 1500 companies since the start of July, according to a Reuters review of transcripts. That is more than 10 percent of all calls over that time, more than twice as many mentions as Google or its parent Alphabet and three times as many as Apple.

Not all the mentions indicate worry about Amazon's presence, with some companies talking up partnerships with Amazon, for example. But the preponderance of mentions indicates the company's broad reach.

Following are a few excerpted comments from this week, during which Amazon was mentioned on 11 of about 30 S&P 1500 earnings calls, including responses by executives to questions from analysts. The week's earnings calendar was dominated by retailers and consumer brand makers, sectors that have long felt the encroachment of Amazon.

The excerpts are edited for length so they may not include the company's complete comments or response to a question:

* Foot Locker CEO Richard Johnson in initial comments on the athletic retailer's Aug. 18 conference call:

"At the premium end of the market, most of our customers don't want to just buy a specific product at the end of spring. They want that product have a connection to an experience that are meaningful and wants to participate in. ... For that reason, we do not believe our vendors selling product directly on Amazon is an imminent threat. There is no indication that any of our vendors intend to sell premium athletic product, US$100 plus interest that we offer directly via that sort of the submission channel. For lower price, largely undifferentiated product, sure, Amazon and other online sales channels are increasing their share of the supermarket. However, we believe our vendors agree with us that consistently selling their premium aspirational product requires great storytelling, great relevance to the influences on our customers lives as well as engaging digital and in-store experience."

* Joshua Schulman, President and CEO of the Coach Brand, responding to question on the handbag maker's Aug. 15 call about digital priorities and how it will stand in the face of Amazon:

"In terms of Amazon, for the time being, we don't see that as a true luxury play and where many of our core competitors play. And we're more excited about engaging directly with our customers through our own digital channels and those of our premium wholesale customers."

* Dennis Nelson, CEO of Buckle on the apparel retailer's Aug. 17 call when asked about selling Buckle products on Amazon:

"We find the expense of selling on Amazon that we don't feel is necessary. And we feel that exclusive product in our stores and in our online, when the guests are familiar with it, will drive the business without Amazon. So at this time, we have no plans to work with them."

Spare

Profile

Company name: Spare

Started: March 2018

Co-founders: Dalal Alrayes and Saurabh Shah

Based: UAE

Sector: FinTech

Investment: Own savings. Going for first round of fund-raising in March 2019

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo
Power: 261hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 1,750-4,000rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 10.5L/100km
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh129,999 (VX Luxury); from Dh149,999 (VX Black Gold)

Indoor Cricket World Cup

Venue Insportz, Dubai, September 16-23

UAE squad Saqib Nazir (captain), Aaqib Malik, Fahad Al Hashmi, Isuru Umesh, Nadir Hussain, Sachin Talwar, Nashwan Nasir, Prashath Kumara, Ramveer Rai, Sameer Nayyak, Umar Shah, Vikrant Shetty

Race card

5pm: Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 1,600m; 5.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,400m

6pm: Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,400m; 6.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,200m

7pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 2,200m

7.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh100,000 (PA) 1,400m

match info

Southampton 2 (Ings 32' & pen 89') Tottenham Hotspur 5 (Son 45', 47', 64', & 73', Kane 82')

Man of the match Son Heung-min (Tottenham)

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

The biog

Name: Mohammed Imtiaz

From: Gujranwala, Pakistan

Arrived in the UAE: 1976

Favourite clothes to make: Suit

Cost of a hand-made suit: From Dh550

 

MATCH INFO

Liverpool v Manchester City, Sunday, 8.30pm UAE

Torbal Rayeh Wa Jayeh
Starring: Ali El Ghoureir, Khalil El Roumeithy, Mostafa Abo Seria
Stars: 3

Structural weaknesses facing Israel economy

1. Labour productivity is lower than the average of the developed economies, particularly in the non-tradable industries.
2. The low level of basic skills among workers and the high level of inequality between those with various skills.
3. Low employment rates, particularly among Arab women and Ultra-Othodox Jewish men.
4. A lack of basic knowledge required for integration into the labour force, due to the lack of core curriculum studies in schools for Ultra-Othodox Jews.
5. A need to upgrade and expand physical infrastructure, particularly mass transit infrastructure.
6. The poverty rate at more than double the OECD average.
7. Population growth of about 2 per cent per year, compared to 0.6 per cent OECD average posing challenge for fiscal policy and underpinning pressure on education, health care, welfare housing and physical infrastructure, which will increase in the coming years.