Ama­zon or Wal­mart? Some re­tail­ers are choos­ing sides

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - BUSINESS - By Anne D’in­no­cen­zio As­so­ci­ated Press

NEWYORK— Store chains feel­ing the up­heaval in re­tail are mak­ing strate­gic al­liances — and that can mean pick­ing sides.

Kohl’s shop­pers can find Ama­zon de­vices at some stores, and re­turn items they bought from the online re­tailer. Nike has made some of its sneak­ers avail­able through Ama­zon. The owner of Sears is sell­ing Ken­more-branded ap­pli­ances on Ama­zon in some mar­kets. And Best Buy is team­ing up with Ama­zon for voice shop­ping.

Mean­while, Wal­mart, which has the most store lo­ca­tions, is as­sem­bling a coali­tion of its own: buy­ing smaller online brands and be­com­ing the high­est-pro­file part­ner to Google in voice shop­ping.

And the dis­count chain that touts low prices an­nounced a web part­ner­ship Mon­day with high-end depart­ment store Lord & Tay­lor.

Since the be­gin­ning of the year, sev­eral re­tail­ers have filed for bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tion, in­clud­ing well-known names like Toys R Us. And re­tail­ers have an­nounced thou­sands of store clos­ings, with more ex­pected.

An­a­lysts say some brands re­al­ize they might not suc­ceed alone.

So as Ama­zon moves even fur­ther into fash­ion, home elec­tron­ics and gro­cery stores, and ce­ments shop­per loy­alty with its $99-a-year Prime mem­ber­ship, stores are de­vel­op­ing part­ner­ships with the online re­tailer to in­crease cus­tomer traf­fic or ex­pand their of­fer­ings online.

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