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To: Road Walker who wrote (160966)2/6/2012 9:52:45 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 161721
 
More tea leaves:

Amazon in the Process of Launching a Retail Store

By Michael Kozlowski

February 4, 2012

Amazon sources close to the situation have told us that the company is planning on rolling out a retail store in Seattle within the next few months. This project is a test to gauge the market and see if a chain of stores would be profitable. They intend on going with the small boutique route with the main emphasis on books from their growing line of Amazon Exclusives and selling their e-readers and tablets.

Seattle is where Amazon’s main headquarters is based and is known as a fairly tech savvy market. It is a perfect launch location to get some hands on experience in the retail sphere. A source has told us that they are not looking to launch a huge store with thousands of square feet. Instead they are going the boutique route and stocking the shelves with only high margin and high-end items. Their intention is to mainly hustle their entire line of Kindle e-Readers and the Kindle Fire. They also will be stocking a ton of accessories such as cases, screen protectors, and USB adapters.

The company has already contracted the design layout of the retail location through a shell company, which is not unusual for Amazon. When Amazon releases new products to the FCC it is always done through anonymous proxy companies to avoid disclosure to their competition on what they are working on. While we don’t know the actual name of the firm they are working with we have heard rumors that they are based in Germany.

The store itself is not just selling tangible items like e-readers and tablets, but also their books. Amazon recently started their own publishing division and has locked up many indie and prominent figures to write exclusively for the company. This has prompted their rivals such as Barnes and Noble, Indigo and Books-A-Million to publicly proclaim they won’t touch Amazon’s physical books with a ten-foot pole. Amazon launching their own store will give customers a way to physically buy books and also sample ebooks via WIFI when they are in a physical location.

This is exciting news and Amazon in a great position to make a strong go out of their retail endeavors. They are starting out local and small mainly to test the waters with the new store, but also to figure out how they’re going to avoid paying massive taxes. In the last few years, there has been a huge tax debate because Amazon sells things online and only pays State taxes if they have a distribution center within a particular location. Having a physical store means the company will have to start paying more taxes and they are currently working out the logistics and tax loopholes before they launch.

We have heard that the time-frame of their first location starting up will be before the end of the year to capitalize on the lucrative holiday season. The store may also roll out towards the Fall when their own publishing imprint will officially launch and the first few books will be released. I expect it to launch soon after the Kindle Fire 2 is announced to maximize the exposure they are going to get.

goodereader.com

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (160967)2/6/2012 10:11:18 PM
From: zax
   of 161721
 
Thats very interesting. It seems surely that at some point surely Bezos will bite off more than he can chew. Its just stunning the ambition this company has - competing in so many completely different markets now.

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To: zax who wrote (160968)2/6/2012 10:44:07 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 161721
 
I would not be concerned about Amazon opening a test store of two. I doubt that they are looking to mimic Apple, if for no other reason than that they have a limited line of Amazon branded hardware. Barnes and Noble has had some success devoting a portion of their stores to the Nook. Maybe Amazon should be partnering with some of the major department store chains to open stores-within-stores.

Amazon is willing to suffer short term low margins in pursuit of long term market dominance.

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (160969)2/7/2012 11:28:51 AM
From: Brian Sullivan
2 Recommendations   of 161721
 
Maybe Amazon should be partnering with some of the major department store chains to open stores-within-stores.


Or buy out Radio-Shack..

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To: Brian Sullivan who wrote (160970)2/8/2012 10:17:06 AM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 161721
 
Purchasing RadioShack would certainly accelerate Amazon's "slow walk" toward collecting sales taxes on Internet sakes.

From Yahoo:

As of March 31, 2011, the company operated 4,467 company-operated retail stores under the RadioShack brand name in the United States; and 1,304 kiosks located in Target and Sam?s Club stores. As of December 31, 2010, it operated 211 company-operated stores under the RadioShack brand, 9 dealers, and 1 distribution center in Mexico; a network of 1,207 RadioShack dealer outlets, including 34 located outside of North America; and 4 distribution centers in the United States.

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From: FUBHO2/14/2012 1:19:18 PM
5 Recommendations   of 161721
 
Amazon is screwed - the Mistress of Disaster is on the Board:


Time to Short Amazon? Jamie Gorelick Now Onboard
February 13th, 2012 - 7:50 pm


What could go wrong? Just as I was ripping a few more CDs to upload to the Amazon cloud, comes ominous news indeed from Doug Ross that the “Amazon board adds Jamie Gorelick, former Fannie Mae and DOJ official.” That PR-style headline from Geek Wirehides the fact that, as Doug writes, “Gorelick is best-known for her leading roles in two epic, trillion-dollar catastrophes, which earned her the nomme de guerre ‘The Mistress of Disaster:’”

It’s not often that one person plays key roles in two — count ‘em, two — trillion-dollar disasters. Welcome, my friends, to the world of well-connected Democrat Jamie Gorelick.

You’ve been warned.

Third time’s the charm! Though if Gorelick does to Amazon what she did to Bill Clinton’s nascent non-war on terrorism and then to Fannie Mae, they’re in heap big trouble. Amazon has run roughshod over first Borders and then Best Buy — what happens to the Internet if the 800 pound gorilla of online retailing falls?

pjmedia.com


The two trillion dollar disasters would be:

1) The wall between intel and criminal investigation enacted during the Clinton administration:
....
A 1995 Department of Justice memorandum states that the procedures her memorandum put in place for the investigation of the first WTC bombing "go beyond what is legally required...[to] prevent any risk of creating an unwarranted appearance that FISA is being used to avoid procedural safeguards which would apply in a criminal investigation."The wall intentionally exceeded the requirements of FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978) for the purposes of criminal investigations, as well as the then-existing federal case law. These rules were, shortly after their creation, expanded to regulate such communications in future counter-terrorism investigations. (wikipedia)
...

2) Mismanagement of Fannie Mae:
.....

Even though she had no previous training nor experience in finance, Gorelick was appointed Vice Chairman of Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) from 1997 to 2003. She served alongside former Clinton Administration official Franklin Raines. [7] During that period, Fannie Mae developed a $10 billion accounting scandal. [8]

On March 25, 2002, Business Week interviewed Gorelick about the health of Fannie Mae. Gorelick is quoted as saying, "We believe we are managed safely. We are very pleased that Moody's gave us an A-minus in the area of bank financial strength – without a reference to the government in any way. Fannie Mae is among the handful of top-quality institutions." [9] One year later, Government Regulators "accused Fannie Mae of improper accounting to the tune of $9 billion in unrecorded losses". [10]

In an additional scandal concerning falsified financial transactions that helped the company meet earnings targets for 1998, a "manipulation" that triggered multimillion-dollar bonuses for top executives, [11] Gorelick received $779,625.

Investigation by the OFHEO detailed in their official report on the accounting scandal in 2006 on page 66 that from 1998 to 2002 Gorelick received a total of $26,466,834.00 in income. (also wikipedia)

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From: Road Walker2/16/2012 10:05:08 AM
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Amazon (AMZN) Drops; Morgan Stanley Cuts to Equalweight, Cites Competition from Apple (AAPL)
9:47 am ET 02/16/2012 - Street Insider
Amazon.Com (Nasdaq: AMZN) is taking a hit Thursday following a downgrade at Morgan Stanley.

The first lowered its investment rating from Overweight to an Equalweight, cutting its price target 13.6 percent from $220 prior to $190. Despite the lowered target, Morgan Stanley said it would be a buyer as share approached $150, a single multiple of expected 2012 net sales.

Morgan Stanley cautions that 2012 will be a tough year and investors will get the full just of this when it holds its first-quarter conference call. The call will give sales guidance for the second-quarter which will be facing tougher comps (up 44 percent) compared to its first quarter numbers.

First-quarter sales should have easier comps given a 500 basis points impact from the earthquake/tsunami in Japan last March.

Key points to deceleration of revs include:Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) having a significant impact on Amazon's EGM segment;

Apple and other driving a meaningful shift in the Media sector, putting pressure on Amazon's non-book media business;

Video games are entering a cyclically weak period;

The transition to 3P / FBA is being driven partially by the transition of eBooks to net sales accounting and while positive long-term, we do not think physical goods 3P is growing as fast as some investors believe; and

Slowing sales growth and an overall shift to more 3P and digital goods may change the dynamics of working capital, a significant component of consolidated FCF that most investors currently capitalize at the same multiple as Amazon.com s operating FCFIn EGM, Amazon reported North American sales growth of 27 percent in the fourth-quarter, from 44 percent in the third-quarter last year. Amazon doesn't have a license to sell Apple's iPhone and iPad devices, leaving it with a gap in its electronics portfolio. Morgan Stanley notes: "the EGM deceleration is more significant [than Media] since it is the segment that investors expect the most share gains from over time."

Further, Morgan Stanley is weary on Amazon's non-books media business, but believes Amazon will spend as much as necessary to gain top spot in the digital segment. The firm commented, "The books category has already been a huge success and given the media war that Amazon.com is now fighting to sustain its media business through the digital transition, we think Amazon.com will spend as much as it needs to in video to win top-spot within the second media category. With that said, we are incrementally negative on Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) as we believe Amazon.com has competitive strengths that could aid in its war for video market share, namely its video streaming delivery infrastructure and its large, engaged customer base...Net / net, Apple is a problem for Amazon.com and the first / second derivative impacts will drive Amazon.com to continue spending aggressively for an extended period in the areas of discounted hardware devices, acquiring content, etc to sustain its competitive position within the media category."

Amazon shares are down 4.7 percent early.

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From: Cisco342/17/2012 4:47:08 PM
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Amazon fulfillment analysis and IP.

m-cam.com

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From: Glenn Petersen3/4/2012 12:22:39 AM
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A high profile loss for AWS:

Message 27988469

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From: ChrisGillette3/10/2012 2:50:20 PM
1 Recommendation   of 161721
 
For anyone (like me) curious about the number of Amazon Prime subscribers...


bloomberg.com

Amazon Is Said to Have Fewer Prime Members Than Estimated
By Edmund Lee and Danielle Kucera
Feb 14, 2012 5:09 PM PT

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN)’s Prime service, a linchpin of its effort to keep customers loyal and fuel long- term profit, has attracted fewer than half as many members as analysts estimate, three people familiar with the matter said.

As of October, 3 million to 5 million people subscribed to Prime, a program begun in 2005 that provides two-day shipping for $79 a year, said the people, who asked not to be named because the figures are private. Amazon is working to reach 7 million to 10 million in the next 12 to 18 months, the people said. Analysts have pegged the current number at 10 million or more, with expectations for it to climb higher this year.

The slower adoption of Prime adds to concerns about Amazon’s revenue growth. The Internet retailer posted sales of $17.4 billion last quarter, trailing the $18.3 billion predicted by analysts. While the Prime service increases Amazon’s shipping costs, it’s seen as a way to lock in customers and prod them to shop more, according to ChannelAdvisor Corp. Fewer Prime users would mean there are fewer of Amazon’s most dedicated customers.

“A Prime customer is much more likely to start and end a search and purchase on Amazon without bothering to check other channels,” said David Spitz, president of the Morrisville, North Carolina-based firm, which supplies e-commerce software to retailers. The subscribers spend three to four times more than regular customers, said Spitz, who had estimated that Prime had about 10 million to 12 million members.

Mary Osako, a spokeswoman at Seattle-based Amazon, declined to comment on the number of Prime members.

Kindle Promotion
Amazon, the world’s largest Internet retailer, has begun promoting Prime by offering free trial memberships to buyers of the Kindle Fire tablet computer. The October figures don’t include the impact of that promotion because the Fire didn’t go on sale until Nov. 14. Even so, JPMorgan Chase & Co. estimated that Prime had already reached 13 million by Sept. 30.

While Kindle Fire users get a free trial of the service, they must opt in if they want to continue using it. Amazon Chief Financial Officer Thomas Szkutak said on a conference call in January that it was too early to tell how many trial users were converting to subscriptions, though “early stats that we’re seeing we like a lot.”

Amazon shares fell less than 1 percent to $191.30 today. The stock has climbed 11 percent this year.

‘All You Can Eat’
The company began Prime seven years ago as a way for customers to get speedy unlimited shipping for a low annual fee. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos called it an “all-you-can- eat” service that would make Amazon more convenient for shoppers while boosting costs in the short term. In February 2011, the company added a video-streaming service to the product, letting customers watch TV shows and movies over the Internet.

Amazon has struck deals with Viacom Inc. (VIAB) and News Corp. (NWSA) to add more video content, stepping up competition with Netflix Inc.’s Internet service. Netflix has more than 23 million streaming customers.

Analysts at Citigroup Inc., Needham & Co. and Robert W. Baird & Co. had all estimated that Prime reached at least 10 million members. Amazon doesn’t disclose figures for Kindle sales, Prime subscribers, or the amount of videos, books and other content Kindle users purchase over the device. That makes it difficult for analysts and investors to come up with accurate projections and make investment decisions, said Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Partners LP in New York.

Missing Data
“It drills home the point that you’re paying a premium valuation for this company and key pieces of their economics aren’t disclosed,” he said. Amazon trades at 139.6 times its trailing 12-month earnings, compared with 14.5 times for Apple Inc. (AAPL), according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Even with less adoption than expected, the Prime promotion has weighed on Amazon’s shipping costs. Those expenses jumped 55 percent to $4 billion last year, dwarfing the $1.55 billion Amazon gets in shipping fees from customers.

Amazon has increased spending on distribution and fulfillment centers in recent years. That investment has put pressure on the company to earn a return on Prime customers, said Gillis, who recommends selling Amazon shares.

“Prime drives more use, but you don’t know how much more use it drives,” he said. “Amazon needs to rationalize its fulfillment.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Edmund Lee in New York at elee310@bloomberg.net; Danielle Kucera in San Francisco at dkucera6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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