"Amazon is likely to be one of the first trillion-dollar market cap companies; it's just a question of when, not if, in our view," Barclays analyst Ross Sandler wrote in a note Wednesday. "The retail business has a considerable moat, and the Prime flywheel and logistics and automation are just getting going," said Sandler, who also struck a bullish tone on the prospects for Amazon's cloud computing business. Amazon's current market cap is $402 billion. Sandler has a $1,120 price target on Amazon.
Notes such as Sandler's shouldn't come as a shock.
Amazon's stock has exploded some 49% to $888.05 over the past year as rivals in the bricks and mortar retail space have struggled mightily. The S&P 500 Department Store Index, which tracks the stock price performance of several department stores, has crashed 35% since hitting a high on December 8, 2016.
"We think the primary reason for recent outperformance of Amazon shares is related to the significant outperformance vs. retail peers, heightened concerns about the long-term opportunity and margin structure for traditional retailers and Amazon's efforts/ambitions to expand into adjacent categories (groceries, automotive parts, furniture, etc.)," said MKM Partners analyst Rob Sanderson on Tuesday. Sanderson's $995 price target on Amazon envisions another 17% move higher in the stock.
Just in the past few weeks alone, Wall Street has seen bankruptcy filings from mall staples such as women's apparel retailer BCBG and RadioShack successor General Wireless Operations Inc. Struggling appliances, electronics and furniture retailer HHGregg (HGG) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and reached a deal to sell itself to an undisclosed party.
Children's apparel retailer Gymboree Corp. on March 14 cautioned it was running low on cash and might not survive. At the same time, teen retailer Bebe Stores Inc. (BEBE) allegedly is working to close all of its stores and focus solely on e-commerce in an attempt to restructure out of court and avoid bankruptcy.
TheStreet broke news a week ago that Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) disclosed in its annual report that it is concerned about its ability to continue as a going concern, although the company projected it would have sufficient liquidity over the next 12 months.
In the eyes of the market right now, Amazon is clearly the dominant force in retail -- and possibly the cloud -- over the next five years.
Editor's Pick: Originally published March 30.