Coming just a bit more than one month after Apple became the first US publicly traded company to be valued at over $1 trillion, Amazon takes second place in the race to corporate hugeness.
Amazon entered the rarefied atmosphere of trillion-dollar companies when its stock rose 1.9 percent last Tuesday to a value of $2,050.50 per share, just 23 cents beyond what it needed to reach that magic trillion dollar point. The price of Amazon’s stock has climbed by 70 percent so far this year, continuing to explode along with other US stocks in the tech sector. The milestone was fleeting however, when the stock actually closed up only 1.3 percent, not enough to keep it beyond $1 trillion.
Amazon has been doing quite well lately, pulling past other tech major players such as Alphabet, Google’s parent company, and Microsoft. Alphabet’s valuation stands at about $840.3 billion, and Microsoft’s at $854.5 billion.
In 1994 Jeff Bezos founded Amazon as an on-line bookseller. The company grew quickly to become one of the US’ most influential companies. Based in Seattle, Amazon is a leader in e-commerce, but also is expanding to other markets such as cloud computing, home security and movie production. Only Walmart hires more people, and this year’s profit so far comes to $4.1 billion. Bezos is also the owner of the Washington Post.
Bezos is the world’s richest person. As a the major beneficiary of the skyrocketing stock price, as of Tuesday, Bezos’ worth is estimated to be $166 billion.
Mega on-line store Amazon will be the recipient of the coveted Luxembourg-American business award for 2018. The award is given to company’s that are considered to contribute significantly to the European country’s economy.
The award was established in 1999, and every since it has been awarded to manufacturing companies. Amazon is the first service company in the history of the award to be so honored.
Previous winners include Goodyear Rubber & Tire Company, DuPont guardian Industries, Avery Dennison Corporation, and others.
The awards ceremony is scheduled for May 15, 2018 and will take place at the Luxembourg American Chamber of Commerce in New York. Miami University will also be celebrating 50 years of a presence in Luxembourg and will receive an honorary business award for its high standards in its academic, economic and institutional partnerships between Luxembourg and the United States.
It is expected that crown prince Guilaume, crown princess Stéphanie and economy minister Étienne Schneider will be present at the ceremony.
Beginning later this year Amazon will extend its business loan program to sellers in eight additional countries where credit can make a huge difference in that company’s success. Amazon, the giant on-line retail platform, has had a business loan program for small sellers in just two countries, Japan and the United States. Known as Amazon Lending, this program was launched in 2012 and is run as an invite-only lending program not available to all Amazon sellers.
The new countries which will become part of this unique program are Canada, China, Germany, France, Italy, India, the United Kingdom and Spain. Amazon loans are geared to helping small sellers better compete for new vendors and taking more market share.
Amazon is not alone in introducing loan programs: eBay’s PayPal and Alibaba Group Holdings are also extending credit to help boost their vendor base. Some analysts have voiced skepticism about these trends, saying that retailers do not properly assess the credit market in which the sellers are operating and therefore could be taking on too much risk. In countries like China and India small businesses have high rates of failure.
Amazon said that risk is not a problem for them since they offer loans based on internal data and also because they take loan payments directly from the profits from sales that it pays their sellers.
It would be hard to argue that having and MBA from a well-respected graduate school is not helpful in a businessman’s climb up the corporate ladder, it seems such a degree is not always necessary.
One startling example is the head of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. He has consistently taken his company higher in the rankings of the famed Fortune 500, without hair nor hide of an MBA. With just a BA from Princeton Bezos founded and nurtured Amazon to the rank of 35 on the Forbes list, not to mention making Amazon a household name-brand.
Also lacking an MBA is the CEO of Plains GP Holdings, Greg L. Armstrong. The company owns and operates storage facilities for natural gas and manages other businesses. Armstrong has directed his company to the 70th position on the Forbes 500.
Amazingly it turns out that less than half of the CEOs at the top 100 companies on the Forbes list actually have MBAs.
“To actually get in the C-suite, it’s a little bit like winning the lottery. Especially for a Fortune 100 company,” says David G. Rohlander, author of The CEO Code: Create a Great Company and Inspire People to Greatness with Practical Advice from an Experienced Executive. “A pattern of successfully accomplishing your goals and an optimistic mindset are two of the most important traits for becoming a CEO,” he says.
Having an MBA might not guarantee a place at the head of a company, but it can certainly help an ambitious person to get ahead. Rohlander, who has an MBA in finance from California State University’s business school, says that earning an MBA is definitely “going to give you a better capability of thinking.”
As the economy struggled in its continuing bid at recovery, Toys “R” Us took a lot of the brunt as sales plummeted in 2013. The giant toy store chain reported a net loss of $210 million during the fourth quarter of 2013 and a total loss of $1 billion for the year. The losses were blamed on fierce competition from on-line sellers such as Amazon, and discount department stores like Wal-Mart.
Earnings for 2012 totaled $239 million, accentuating the challenges of last year’s marketplace.
The private held retailer posted a decrease in same-store sales of 4.1 percent in the US and 2.2 percent internationally during the fourth quarter of 2013. Those figures are an important indicator of a retailer’s overall health, and they included the crucial holiday season.
“It was a challenging year, with declines in both our domestic and international segments,” CEO Antonio Urcelay said in a statement to investors.
“The U.S. business experienced the more significant downturn, primarily due to a decrease in net sales, margin pressure and one-time items, including the write-down of excess and obsolete inventory as we take the necessary and prudent steps to improve the business.”
Toys “R” Us did have a good year in China, however. As the Chinese economy continues to expand and more people are climbing the affluence ladder, there is more disposable income available to spend on children’s playthings.
So far this year things are looking up a bit for Toys “R” Us here at home. So far there has been a 3.5 percent increase in same-store sales in the US due to an increase in entertainment related toys connected to beloved movie franchises. Net sales for all of 2013 totaled $12.5 billion. That is $1 billion less, or 7.4 percent, from 2012.