business news in context, analysis with attitude

Wells Fargo is out with a "large scale retail pricing analysis which tracked daily pricing for over 25,000 items at Amazon, Walmart and Target, with the help of 360pi, a product pricing big data firm," concluding that "mass retailers WMT and TGT have lower online prices than AMZN in the four categories we watched, and that this spread has widened over the past year (note this analysis does not include shipping costs and sales tax). This is particularly true for WMT, which went from being priced 1% lower than AMZN six months ago, to approximately 10% lower in the most recent quarter."

The study goes on:

"Looking at four key retail categories (clothing/shoes, electronics, housewares, and health/beauty), WMT’s price advantage vs. AMZN (on over 20K overlapping SKUs) was about 10% as of Aug. 2014, vs. only about 1% six months ago. Interestingly, the widening of this spread can be attributed to both AMZN raising prices and WMT lowering prices, though our data shows higher prices at AMZN have been more of a factor. Overall, TGT’s online prices are also lower than AMZN, but to a lesser degree (roughly 4% lower) and the spread has not changed as much over the past 6-12 months."
KC's View:
I'm about as dedicated an Amazon shopper as you're likely to find, and even I find myself wondering if perhaps the company has been distracted from its core mission. After all, we've all been trained to expect the best selection and low prices when we shop at Amazon … but lately they've not been selling everything (like Hachette books and Disney videos) and now there are questions about its low prices.

Have to wonder what's going on here…