nytimes.com - 10 days ago
Morning Agenda: Upheaval in Retail
Jeff Bezos went shopping and now the entire retail industry is scrambling to secure shelf space.
Even before Amazon’s deal to buy the upscale grocery chain Whole Foods for $13.4 billion, changes were in motion for the retail landscape: • Walmart agreed to buy the men’s clothing company Bonobos for $310 million, gaining a conventional retailer with brick-and-mortar locations, and an online ethos. • Target is leading a new investment in Casper, a mattress maker that rose to prominence through e-commerce and plans to announce as soon as today that it has raised $170 million. This round of investment values Casper at approximately $750 million, not including the new investment. Target had offered to buy Casper, but the companies failed to agree on terms. The Amazon deal for Whole Foods is yet another example of the influence of activist investors — or “greedy bastards” as John Mackey, the Whole Foods chief executive, had referred to them. The rise of activist investors and technological change has led to a decline in the tenure and dominion of chief executives. Amazon’s move also illustrates the willingness of Mr. Bezos, its chief executive, to experiment at the risk of failing.
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