"We underestimated the brilliance of Amazon [and Jeff Bezos]," Buffett said.
When Amazon went public in 1997, when Buffett said he was not taking bets on tech stocks yet, its shares were priced at $18. Today, the stock hovers around the $930 to $940 range and could be on the way to going even higher. Year to date, shares of Amazon have climbed nearly 25 percent.
Many retailers also underestimated the Amazon effect, and now are kicking themselves for it, too.
This year so far is shaping up to be one of the worst for retail. More retailers have filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2017 alone than in the entire 2016 year, and about 20 more, by TheStreet's count, have announced major store closures.
Two of the most recent bankruptcy petitions came from specialty menswear retailer B&B Bachrach and discount shoe store chain Payless ShoeSource.
The retail industry is struggling due to pressures including slowing mall traffic, the rising cost of rent and labor and, most importantly, the increasing threat from e-commerce, largely coming from Amazon.
From offering superior delivery methods to mulling the idea of launching furniture and appliances stores to secretly opening tiny electronics stores at 25 malls in 15 states, Amazon has had a ghastly effect on retail.
In a earlier interview with TheStreet, Karen Short, managing director of equity research at Barclays, said retailers across the board "simply sat back" when Amazon first emerged instead of trying to combat the e-commerce giant with improved shipping or online purchasing options, for example. Those retailers are suffering now.
Here's What Else You May Have Missed
France elects new president: Centrist Emmanuel Macron won the French presidential election in a landslide, securing more than 66 percent of the vote. Macron, 39, not only became the youngest president of the country, but he is the first independent candidate outside France's main two political parties.
The tweet reads, "I will be faithful to this commitment: I will protect the Republic."
Coach buys new accessory: Coach (COH) is set to acquire rival Kate Spade (KATE) for $2.4 billion. The deal represents a 27.5 percent premium to Kate Spade's December 27 closing price, when rumors of the possibly takeover began to spread on Wall Street. Shares of Kate Spade are spiking around 8 percent in Monday's pre-market trading.
Buffett's shareholder meeting rewind: On Friday, just one day before Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway investor bash began, the Omaha, Neb.-based company reported lower quarterly earnings than Wall Street expected. Berkshire Hathaway posted a net earnings slip of 27 percent to $4.06 billion, or $2,469 a share, compared to analysts' estimates for $2,705 a share.
Head to TheStreet's homepage for full coverage of Buffett's big weekend.
Top news on TheStreet today:
- ESPN Woes Overshadow Disney's Strong Showing in Parks and Movies: What Wall Street's Saying
- Walmart's Jet.com Finally Has a Physical Store Open--What It Sells Will Surprise You
- Fossil's Horrifying Quarter Is the Perfect Example of What Happens When Retailers Die
- Cisco Faces Considerable Headwinds
- Allergan Stock Falls on Declining U.S. Medicine Revenue, Goldman Downgrade