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Aug. 11, 2023
Supply Chain Digest Flagship Newsletter


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This Week in SCDigest

bullet Walmart and Amazon by the Numbers 2023 Part 2 bullet SCDigest On-Target e-Magazine
bullet Supply Chain Graphic & by the Numbers for the Week bullet New Stock Index

New Chain Cartoon Caption Contest!

bullet Trivia      bullet Feedback
bullet New Expert Column bullet On Demand Videocasts
first thought


Supply Chain Graphic
of the Week


Women in Manufacturing Stll Face Discrimination


This Week's Supply Chain Numbers

UPS Drivers' Big Total Compensaton
New Containershp Keep Coming
Pepsi Success with Tesla Semi
Cargo Theft and Organized Crime


Show Us Your Supply Chain Wit

Expert Insight

Supply Chain Technology Is Changing The Way SMBs Compete

Real-Time Visibility Into Inventory Levels, Order Status, and Shipment Tracking Enables SMBs to Monitor and Manage Their Supply Chains More Effectively


Sam Polakoff
Founder and CEO


Read Now

Cloudy Outlook but With a Glimmer of Optimism

Expectations of Lower Import Demand for the Rest of the Year and Retailer Cautiousness Will not Bode Well for the Last Mile


Jay Kent
Managing Director
SLB Performance


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How can a WMS be used for your Micro-Fulfillment Center?


Its Purpose Consists of Bringing the Logistics arm of Your Operation Closer to the Customer and end Consumer


Victoria Cardenas
Strategic Account Executive


Read Now


 This Week's SCDigest OnTarget Newsletter

Cartoon, Top SCDigest Stories of the Week

The former APICS organization is now known as what?
Answer Found at the
Bottom of the Page


Walmart and Amazon by the Numbers 2023 Part 2

My column a week ago on Walmart and Amazon by the Numbers 2023 once again proved very popular. I am very pleased to be back this week with part 2, as we dig into the data from the world's two most important retailers.




By my way of thinking, that means logistics costs as a percent of phyical product sales are continuing to rise rapidly at Amazon.

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I will note that not planned but timely, Walmart released its quarterly earnings this week, and it was something of a blow out.

Revenue was up 5.7% to $161.6 billion, as Walmart benefits two ways from inflation: higher prices for what it sells (especially food), and customers spending more of their dollars on the basics given rising costs.


Ecommerce sales were up 24%, though the sales number was not included as usual. Amazon's on-line saled were up just 4% in Q2.


To first put the numbers from both of my columns in perspective, let's first look at the rise of US ecommerce. According to the Commerce Dept., ecommerce sales were about 15% of total retail sales last year, up from about 9.9% in 2018 - but those total retail numbers include sales of cars, gas stations, restaurants and a few other categories that are not really relevant for comparison.

So, we run the numbers based on the same formula we used in part 1 of this series to analyze Walmart's share of US retail, for which we take total retail and subtract out those non-relevant categories . Using that formula, ecommerce sales were a much higher 21.1% of total US retail sales in 2022, up almost two percentage point from 19.3% in 2021, as shown in the graphic below.  Of course, that share is much higher in some product categories, such as electronics and apparel.


The pandemic was very good for ecommerce, as seen in the big jump in 2020.



One quick note on Walmart. Last year it grew its US store sales by $27 billion - the size of a major retailer on its own.

Switching gears, Amazon for years received much criticism for its consistent failure to really make any money despite the rapid revenue growth, but that started to change in 2016 and really jumped in 2018, as can be seen in the chart below. Net income for 2021 was 32.1 billion, but somehow last year Amazon lost $5.8 billion.



Walmart, by comparison, had profits of $11.6 billion last fiscal year, and 24.6% versus fiscal 2021 even with the big jump in US sales. Walmart's net income was only 1.9% of sales, while Amazon had a loss, as our two great retailers can't make any money.


During all the years of no profits, some observers said to look at Amazon's cash flow from operations instead of profits, a view which certainly painted a more favorable picture.


Operating cash flow as a percent of revenue has generally been much higher at Amazon than at Walmart for many years - and was more than two times so in 2022, as shown in the chart below.




But there is operating cash flow and then what is called "free cash flow," or operating cash flow minus capital expenditures, and here 
the story is also interesting.


Amazon had an $46.3 billion operating cash flow in 2021 (down 30%) and had CapEx of about $60 billion, up from $40 billion in 2020. So that means CapEx was almost $14 billion more than operating cash flow, while in 2020 operating income exceed CapEx by about $26 billion. Lots of fulfillment centers still being built.


Walmart, on the other hand, had CapEx of about $13.1 billion - up from from $10.3 billion in 2020. With $24.2 billion in operating cash flow, that means CapEx of about 54% of OCF, though with Walmart now generating far less OCF than its rival. (Note: as a proxy for official CapEx, I am using spending on real estate, equipment and technology by Amazon).

Importantly, Walmart also has to pay a dividend from its cash flow- $6.2 billion worth last year - while Amazon does not. So Amazon had negative free cash flow last year. With Walmart if you subtract the dividend after also subtracting CapEx from OCF leaves $11.1 of free cash flow, way down from $19 billion in 2020.


The dividend factor is huge and a giant advantage for Amazon while it lasts.


I have lots more, but I am out of space. Hope you have enjoyed this look at the numbers.






Any reaction to these numbers from Amazon and Walmart? Any other data you would like to see? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback button or section below.

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On Demand Videocast:

Understanding Distributen

Highlights from the New "Little Book of Distributed Order Management"

In this outstanding Videocast, we'll discuss DOM, based on the new Little Book of Distributed Order Management, written by our two Videocast presenters.

Featuring Dan Gilmore, Editor along with Satish Kumar, VP Client Services, Softeon

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On Demand Videocast:

The Grain Drain: Large-Scale Grain Port Terminal Optimization

The Constraints and Challenges of Planning and Implementing Port Operations

This videocast will provide a walkthrough of two ways to formulate a MIP, present an example port, and discuss port operations.

Featuring Dan Gilmore, Editor along with Dr. Evan Shellshear, Head of Analytics, Biarri.

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On Demand Videocast:

A Blueprint for WMS Implementation Success

If You Want a Successful WMS Project, You will Find the Blueprint in this Excellent Broadcast

This videocast lays out the keys to ensuring your WMS implementation goes smoothly, involves minimal pain, and accelerates time to value.

Featuring Dan Gilmore, Editor along with Todd Kovi of Radix Consulting and Dinesh Dongre of Softeon.

Now Available On Demand


Feedback will return next week.

The former APICS organization is now known as what?

A: The Association for Supply Chain Management