Updated with additional information.
Shares of traditional retailers took a beating on Wednesday following disheartening earnings from the likes of Macy's (M) - Get Macy's Inc Report and Fossil (FOSL) - Get Fossil Group, Inc. Report . And the pain is likely only to get worse on Thursday as Kohl's reported reported a big drop in earnings and revenues.
By contrast, online giant Amazon (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report has been hitting on all cylinders and set another all-time high on Wednesday, rising 1.5% to close at $713.40, a price that values the company at a whopping $336.5 billion.
So is Amazon now effectively *the* retail stock to own?
"I do think Amazon is one of the few [companies] eating department stores' lunches," said S&P Global Market Intelligence analyst Lindsey Bell who said the apparel business in particular was having a hard time.
Consumers are increasingly taking their shopping online and disproportionately buying via Amazon, according to a recent Forrester study. The research house expects online retailing to balloon to $530 billion by 2020, up from $341 billion last year. Amazon alone accounted for 60% of the growth in e-commerce last year.
Still, S&P's Bell said shares of retailers shouldn't be swapped wholesale for Amazon as stores that provide consumers with "unique shopping or a treasure hunt" still have a chance.
"Amazon is operating in a sector -- online retail -- that's performing very well," Bell said. "Maybe department stores are becoming old school."
Amazon's powerful position in retail as well as its incredibly profitable web hosting business led one analyst to boost his price target on the stock to $1,000 this week. With all the pain in retailing on Wednesday, analysts were quick to point out the damage Amazon was wreaking.
"Ten to fifteen years ago, Wal-Mart (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report was the bogey man, the 1,000-pound gorilla, and today that's Amazon, there's no doubt about that," said BB&T analyst Anthony Chukumba. "It's Amazon's world we're living in right now."
But Chukumba also downplayed the notion that Amazon is the main or only retail stock to own now.
Chukumba said retailers can survive by carving out a competitive edge against Amazon, such as Best Buy (BBY) - Get Best Buy Co., Inc. Report or fill an itch Amazon can't scratch, such as Family Dollar Stores (FDO) or Dollar General (DG) - Get Dollar General Corporation Report . Best Buy adjusted its prices, while the dollar stores have an advantage when being close-by counts.
"Amazon was eating [Best Buy's] lunch. So what they did was lower their prices to get in-line with Amazon. They also improved their online experience to get in-line with Amazon," Chukumba said.