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WALMART VS AMAZON Economist 2016 Investment Case Competition sponsored by RealVision Abstract Over the next 10

WALMART VS AMAZON

Economist 2016 Investment Case Competition sponsored by RealVision

Abstract

Over the next 10 years Walmart stock will outperform Amazon because:

Combining brick-and-mortar with e-commerce is a winning

strategy: Although the growth of e-commerce is impressive, brick-and-mortar stores still account for 90% of retail revenues. Walmart is better positioned as an omni-channel retailer given its global store network and strong online presence. Early entry in China will pay dividends as country’s middle class booms: The growth of the Chinese middle class will alter global consumption trends in the next decade. Walmart has been laying the foundation to meet this demand and is accelerating expansion in China.

Earnings, not dreams, drive value: Walmart has proven it can deliver long-term

profitable growth. Comprehensive strategy and opera tional excellence will continue to provide above average profitability. Strong balance sheet and robust free cash flow provide low cost capital to

support growth: Relatively low debt insulates Walmart from rising rates. Undervalued stock will provide most value to shareholders: Conservative DCF model shows the market is significantly mispricing Walmart’s stock.

Cole Buckley, Pete DeFina and Lindsay Root

Table of Contents

Walmart vs Amazon

2

Industry Summary ......................................................................................................................

2

Company Overviews ..................................................................................................................

3

Amazon

3

Walmart

4

Market Position & Analysis

5

Walmart is positioned to become the leading omni-channel retailer

5

Walmart is able to capture growth in Asian middle class

7

Walmart’s global network

9

Financial analysis

10

10

Walmart’s conservative capital structure makes it easy to raise capital and reduces impact

of rising rates

11

Valuation

12

P/OIPS

12

Discounted Free Cash Flow

14

Conclusion

16

17

Walmart vs Amazon

Amazon and Walmart have become ubiquitous, household names in the US and for good

reason: both of these companies have revolutionized the way in which we shop. Amazon offers

a convenient experience, and an ever-expanding selection of products whereas Walmart has a

wide network of store locations and famously low prices. As investments, these companies

highlight the dichotomous nature of the retail industry – brick-and-mortar vs e-commerce; high

growth vs steady growth; US vs International; actual vs market expectations. To coalesce these

stark differences, we will first summarize the industry and these companies, followed by an

analysis of market position and financials, and finally an analysis of the firm valuation, all of

which point to Walmart as the clear investment over the next 10 years.

Investment decision: Buy WMT

Industry Summary

For the ease of comparison, we’ve grouped both Amazon and Walmart into retail, however,

the industry forces that drive each of these companies are distinctly different and the firm that

is best able to leverage these forces will ultimately make a better investment for the next 10

years.

Table 1: Industry Summary 1

 
Industry E-commerce and Online Warehouse Department Stores Auctions in the US Clubs & in the US
Industry E-commerce and Online Warehouse Department Stores Auctions in the US Clubs & in the US

Industry

E-commerce and Online

Warehouse

Department Stores

Auctions in the US

Clubs &

in the US

Supercenters in

the US

Key Drivers

Per capita disposable income Number of mobile internet connections Percentage of services conducted online World price of crude oil

 

Life cycle

Growth

Mature

Decline

stage:

Concentration

Low – HHI 250

High – HHI

High HHI 2,000

Level:

5,000

Technology

High

Medium

Medium

Change:

Barriers to

Low

High

Medium

Entry:

Threats

High reliance on shipping

Gas stations

E-commerce sites

companies (FedEx, UPS, etc.).

generate large

are better

portion of

positioned due to

Operating profits limited when

industry

low overhead

oil prices are high. Membership (like Prime) limits ability to pass higher costs onto customers.

revenue.

costs, offering lower prices and wider inventories.

Opportunities

Disposable income levels determine quantity a nd quality of online purchases Integrate in-store and online for personalized customer experience

Company Overviews

Amazon

Amazon.com, founded in 1994 by current CEO Jeff Bezos, is the largest internet-based retailed

in the US. They maintain three different operating segments: North America, International, and

1 (IBIS World, 2015)

Web Services. In Q2 of 2015, Amazon reported $23 billion in sales of which North America

represented 60%, International 32%, and Web Services 8%. 2 Amazon currently sells over 300

million products in a variety of categories. Its retail operation encompasses many different

business models – Amazon Retail, Amazon Marketplace, and Amazon Web Services. In

Amazon Retail, the company purchases and takes possession of inventory in which it stores in

one of its 74 3 distribution centers in the US. In Amazon Marketplace, third party sellers are

able to list items on Amazon’s website and the seller pays a fee to Amazon. Amazon Web

Services is cloud-computing platform providing services like online storage and virtual

servers. 4

Walmart

Walmart, founded in 1962 by Sam Walton, was the world’s largest company by revenue 5 . Its

operating segments include Sam’s Club, Walmart US, and International. In Q2 of 2015,

Walmart reported $119 billion in sales of which Walmart US represented 62%, International

26% and Sam’s Club 12%. 6 Sales are generated predominantly through one of its 11,526 stores

throughout the globe. Walmart also generates sales through its website Walmart.com, however

less than 3% of sales are generated online. 7 Evolving to compete in the digital space, Walmart

is moving from a traditional brick-and-mortar retail store to an omni-channel model which

includes online sales. 8

Table2: Selected Company Metrics 9

Company Name

Walmart (WMT)

Amazon (AMZN)

Employees

2.2 Million

154,000

Shareholders

250,000

2,744

  • 2 (Amazon, 2015)

  • 3 (MWPVL, 2015)

  • 4 (Amazon, 2015)

  • 5 (Fortune, 2015)

  • 6 (Walmart, 2015)

  • 7 (Forbes, 2015)

  • 8 (Walmart, 2015)

  • 9 (Mergent Online, 2015)

Market Cap

$187 Billion

$307 Billion

Revenue

486 Billion

100.5 Billion

Net Income

15.5 Billion

328 Million

Dividend

1.95

N/A

Dividend Yield

3.33%

N/A

Share Price

$58

$655

Market Position & Analysis

Walmart is positioned to become the leading omni-channel retailer

Retailers have realized that the future of retail is offering goods and services through tightly

integrated digital and physical channels. A 2014 study by A.T. Kearney found that a majority

of customers prefer online shopping for product discovery and delivery, and physical stores for

product testing and returns. 10 In fact, two-thirds of the customers purchasing online use a

physical store either before or after the transaction. 11 The tradeoff in customer preferences

between online and physical stores is driving an increasing amount of retailers to adopt an

omni-channel model. Successful online retailers such as Microsoft and Athleta are now

opening brick-and-mortar locations as part of a blended retail strategy. On the other hand,

traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are making large investments to improve its online

presence.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said “I want us to stop talking about digital and physical retail

as if they’re two separate things, the customer doe sn’t think of it that way, and we can’t either.”

McMillon went on to discuss Walmart’s plans to heavily invest in its vision of seamless

integration between digital and physical shopping. Online sales currently make up only a small

  • 10 (A.T. Kearney, 2014)

  • 11 (A.T. Kearney, 2015)

percentage of Walmart’s total revenues, however with $12 billion in e-commerce sales in 2015

it is already one of the largest online retailers in the world. 12 Indeed, Walmart has incredible

upside potential in online retailing if it can succ essfully execute its omni-channel strategy.

In 2015 the global e-commerce market was estimated to be $1.5 trillion which is forecast to

grow at an average of 15% for the next 3 years. 13 Despite this high growth rate, in 2019 e-

commerce sales will still only account 12.4% or $3.5 trillion of total retail sales of $28.5 trillion

(see Figure 1). 14

Figure 1: Global Retail and E-commerce Sales Forecast in Trillions 15

37.1 35.7 34.3 32.8 31.4 30.0 17% 28.6 17% 27.1 16% 15% 25.7 14% 24.3 13%
37.1
35.7
34.3
32.8
31.4
30.0
17%
28.6
17%
27.1
16%
15%
25.7
14%
24.3
13%
11%
22.8
12%
10%
9%
7%
83%
83%
85%
84%
89%
88%
87%
86%
90%
91%
93%
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
2024
2025
Brick-and-mortar
Retail e-commerce sales
Total

As of 2014, China represents a $400 billion e-commerce market and is forecast to grow at more

than 20% over the next few years (see Figure 2). The drivers for this growth include China’s

large population, growing internet penetration, and increase in disposable income with the

forecasted rise of the middle class.

  • 12 (Market Realist, 2015)

  • 13 (eMarketer, 2015)

  • 14 Ibid

  • 15 (eMarketer, 2015)

Figure 2: China Internet Penetration and Number of Users 16

1,130 1,071 1,016 963 912 865 820 777 736 700 80% 670 76% 72% 69% 65%
1,130
1,071
1,016
963
912
865
820
777
736
700
80%
670
76%
72%
69%
65%
62%
59%
56%
53%
51%
49%
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
2024
2025
# of users in millions
% population

Walmart is able to capture growth in Asian middle class

The growth in the Asian middle class will completely change the trajectory of retail sales. US

consumption drives US and the global economy, especially since the recent trend in savings

has resulted in US consumption growing faster than the US GDP. 17 Representing $10 trillion,

US consumption accounts for under one-fifth of the world economy. This massive consumer

base is propped up by the US’ large middle class. However, this trend is shifting as the middle

class is growing rapidly in populous countries around the globe, most notably, Asia. In 2000,

China’s middle class represented 2% of the world’s population and just 10 years later, it

represented 9%. 18 China’s consumers have the potential to drive global demand, particularly

in the next 10 years (see Table 3).

Table 3: Percent change in size of middle class by region 19

Region

Region 2009-2020 2020-2030

2009-2020

Region 2009-2020 2020-2030

2020-2030

Region 2009-2020 2020-2030

Asia Pacific

25.10%

   

12.56%

Sub-Saharan Africa

 

0.02%

 

-0.42%

Middle East & North Africa

 

-0.61%

 

-0.33%

Central & South America

 

-2.08%

 

-0.77%

North America

 

-8.07%

   

-4.41%

Europe

 

-14.35%

   

-6.64%

  • 16 Ibid

  • 17 (Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2015)

  • 18 (Brookings Institute, 2010)

  • 19 IBID

Additionally, Chinese consumers are avid shoppers. In a 2007 survey, Chinese respondents

indicated that they spend 9.8 hours per week shopping, whereas the typical American only

spends 3.6 hours. 20 More than 40% of survey respondents also stated that shopping was their

favorite activity.

Given these sentiments, and the fact that half of China is still not connected to the internet,

Walmart is better positioned to capitalize on these trends than Amazon. In contrast to its

position in the US, Amazon must compete for market share with Alibaba and JD.com in China.

Current research estimates that Amazon occupies less than 1.5% of the market share and is

losing $600 million a year. 21 Earlier this year, Amazon quietly opened a store on competitor

Alibaba’s Tmall platform, a site for authentic brands, in order to access Chinese customers

since it has not had much success via its own website Amazon.cn. This does not bode well for

the ubiquity nor profitability of Amazon in China.

Whereas Amazon is struggling for a foothold in the Chinese market, Walmart is enjoying

modest, albeit slow, growth in China. Since enterin g the market in 1996 with two stores, it

rapidly expanded to 279 stores by 2010, however, Wa lmart did face some challenges as

particular low performing stores were forced to close. 22 Despite rising debt and total liabilities

up from 76% in 2013 to close to 80% currently, Walmart was able to improve profits and

margins over the same period indicating that the firm is able to rein in costs. 23 "Our aim is to

become an integral part of China's economy," said CEO Doug McMillon. "China is a top

priority." 24 Despite setbacks, Walmart has pledged to open 115 new stores by 2017, bringing

  • 20 (McKinsey & Company, 2007)

  • 21 (Fortune, 2015)

  • 22 (Wall Street Journal, 2015)

  • 23 (Reuters, 2015)

  • 24 (Reuters, 2015)

the total to 530 stores in China. 25 In 2011, sales in China accounts for about 2% or $7.5 billion

of Walmart’s annual revenues, but sales in China have risen over the last decade while sales in

the US continues to shrink. 26

Furthermore, Walmart is positioning itself to offer greater e-commerce flexibility to its Chinese

customers by partnering with local company, Yihaodian. Walmart just recently bought out the

company’s founders, signaling that Walmart is gearing up for an investment into its Chinese

omni-channel model. China’s online retail sales rose 49% to $440 billion 27 and with Walmart’s

ownership in Yihaodian, Walmart hopes to expand its inconsequential 1% market share. With

China as the largest opportunity for growth for both Amazon and Walmart, it is clear that

Walmart is much better positioned.

Walmart’s global network provides competitive advan tage

Since the opening of its first international location in 1991, Walmart has been steadily

increasing its global presence. Currently, it operates 6,290 international store locations.

Walmart is well established in developed countries and is now focusing on growing store count

in the fastest growing economies. Five of Walmart’s international regions are forecast to

outpace global average growth in the next 10 years. Each of these regions has seen store count

rise by more than 25% in the last 5 years. Of particular interest are India and Africa, where it

has been difficult for US retailers to gain a strong foothold. Walmart has made steady progress

in these regions through a series of acquisitions. Despite the challenges of doing business in

emerging economies, Walmart is planning continued expansion. By 2020, it will add 50 new

stores in India and 90 stores in Africa. 28 29

  • 25 (Wall Street Journal, 2015)

  • 26 (The Atlanic, 2015)

  • 27 (CCTV America, 2015)

  • 28 (AFK Insider, 2014)

  • 29 (The Street, 2015)

Figure 3 2015-2015 GDP Growth Rate of Walmart Key Regions and Store Count 30

Figure 3 2015-2015 GDP Growth Rate of Walmart Key Regions and Store Count Financial analysis Walmart

Financial analysis

Walmart has above average profitability and a strong history of profitable growth

Walmart is well known for its ability to create profits by leveraging scale and operational

excellence. Table 2 demonstrates that Walmart is above average in all key measures of

profitability. Of particular note is Return on Equity. Walmart operates with less leverage than

its competitors and as a result is able to generate high Return on Equity.

Table 4: Profitability Metrics for top 4 brick-and-mortar retailers + Amazon 31

     

Brick-

     

and-

Mortar

Profitability

Walmart

Amazon

Average

Costco

Carrefour

Target

Gross Profit Margin(TTM)

24.3%

31.3%

23.0%

13.0%

23.0%

31.0%

 

5.4%

0.8%

3.3%

3.3%

2.8%

7.6%

Operating Profit Margin(TTM) Return on Assets(TTM)

7.8%

-0.4%

2.3%

2.3%

2.7%

1.8

%

Return on Equity(TTM)

19.7%

-1.7%

7.2%

7.2%

13.6%

5

.4%

30 (Walmart, 2015) 31 (Mergent Online, 2015)

Walmart’s profitability is not just a recent occurrence. Gross profit margin (Gross Profit/Total

Revenues) has been steadily increasing for more than two decades; proving that Walmart can

balance everyday low pricing with its tremendous purchasing power (see Figure 4).

Figure 4: Walmart Annual Gross Profit Margin 32

26% 25% 24% 23% 22% 21% 20% 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015
26%
25%
24%
23%
22%
21%
20%
1990
1995
2000
2005
2010
2015

Walmart’s conservative capital structure makes it easy to raise capital and reduces impact of rising rates

Walmart has used profits to pay down its debt and achieve a conservative capital structure.

60% of Walmart’s assets are financed through debt, compared to 78% for Amazon and 68%

for brick-and-mortar competitors. 33 This relatively low debt to equity ratio is a characteristic

of family-owned businesses which view debt as a constraint. 34 The relatively low debt ratio

and high interest coverage ratio have earned Walmart a high credit rating and low cost of

borrowing. Moody’s gives Walmart an investment grade rating of Aa2, significantly higher

than Amazon and other key competitors. The benefit of Walmart’s conservative capital

structure is its ability to issue future debt at a lower cost than industry peers.

  • 32 (Mergent Online, 2015)

  • 33 (Mergent Online, 2015)

  • 34 (Harvard Business Review, 2012)

Another benefit of Walmart’s relatively low amount of debt is it helps to insulate them from

the shock of rising interest rates. A forecast consensus prepared by the Wall Street Journal

shows interest rates rising dramatically throughout 2016 and 2017. 35 Firms such as Amazon,

with high leverage and low operating margins will be significantly burdened by debt service in

an environment of rapidly rising interest rates.

Valuation

Our valuation of Walmart is based on two approaches: using Price (P) to Operating Income Per

Share (OI) multiple, and a Discounted Free Cash Flow (DFCF) valuation.

Price/Operating Income Per Share

The P/OI ratio was selected to remove inconsistencies in valuations that can result from high

growth rates and/or depressed or negative net earnings, characteristic of many pure play e-

commerce retailers. Specifically, this valuation metric was selected over a net earnings

valuation metric, such as Price to Earnings (P/E) ratios, in order to eliminate any bias created

by deductions of interest, depreciation, and or amortization. Also, because of the different

growth rates traditional brick-and-mortar retail and e-commerce segments, fixed asset capital

expenditures (CAPEX) and their financing are also varied across the retail industry. For

example, e-commerce is a relatively high growth segment, exhibiting relatively high average

CAPEX, (AMZN CAPEX as % of Sales = 8.8%; WMT CAPEX as % of Sales = 2.5%) and

depreciation, which can depress net earnings and bias valuation estimates based on e-commerce

net earnings. Similarly, diverse financing methods and interest deductions create net earnings-

based valuation biases.

35 (Wall Street Journal, 2015)

Figure 5: Price/Operating Income

180x 152.7x 160x 140x 120x 100x 80x 58.1x 60x 40.4x 40x 31.1x 26.2x 25.5x 19.9x 14.5x
180x
152.7x
160x
140x
120x
100x
80x
58.1x
60x
40.4x
40x
31.1x
26.2x
25.5x
19.9x
14.5x
20x
10.0x
7.8x
0x
AMZN
BABA
BIDU
TGT
OSTK
GOOG
COST
EBAY
AAPL
WMT

Using Walmart’s current share price (close price $5 8.61 as at Nov. 6, 2015) and trailing twelve

month operating income (as at Jul,. 30, 2015), we calculated Walmart’s P/OI ratio to be 7.8x

which is closer to its brick-and-mortar rivals than to e-commerce pure plays, yet lower than all

Table 5: Retail Industry Comparable Firms

major competitors in the

Retail Industry Comparable Firms

retail industry 36 . In order to

Comparables

Weighting of Comp Ratios

Company

Sales

Weight

Weighted

(Ticker)

P/OIPS

($Billion)

(Sales)

Average

AMZN

152.7x

$

100.59

8.95%

 

BABA

58.1x

13.57

1.21%

BIDU

40.4x

9.74

0.87%

TGT

31.1x

73.55

6.54%

OSTK

26.2x

1.61

0.14%

26.1x

GOOG

25.5x

71.76

6.38%

COST

19.9x

116.20

10.34%

EBAY

14.5x

17.70

1.57%

AAPL

10.0x

233.72

20.79%

WMT

7.8x

485.62

43.20%

better reflect Walmart’s true

current share price, a

weighted average (by sales)

of all comparable P/OI ratios

was calculated (26.1x),

indicating a current share

price of $67.40, 15% higher

than the current market price.

36 (Yahoo Finance, 2015)

Table 6: Price/Operating Income Per Share

P/OIPS Valuation

P/OI

26.1x

Enterprise Value

$634,924,825,970

Net Debt

416,341,000,000

Equity

218,583,825,970

Total Diluted

3,243,000,000

Shares

Equity Value

67.40

Per Share

Discounted Free Cash Flow

The discounted free cash flow valuation method was selected to provide a business-driven

valuation method, to complement the market-driven P/OI valuation. This is a credible

valuation method since it allows the incorporation of expected growth in both sales channels

and profit margins. A free cash flow growth rate of 3.0%, in line with global GDP growth,

was applied to Walmart’s free cash flow over the 5 year discounted cash flow valuation.

Table 7: Weighted Average Cost of Capital

Weighted Average Cost of Capital

Cost of Equity (r e ) Risk-free rate (r f ) Market Risk Premium Beta

7.12%

3.09%

6.01%

0.4646

After-tax Cost of Debt Cost of Debt (r d ) Tax rate (t)

2.85%

4.39%

35.00%

Debt Weight (W d ) Equity Weight (W e ) WACC

13.73%

86.27%

5.46%

Table 8: Discounted Free Cash Flow Model

Discounted Free Cash Flow Model

WACC

 

5.46%

Growth Rate of FCF after 2015

3.00%

Present

Value

of Free Cash Flow

$

92,775,515,775

Present

Value

of Terminal Value

591,471,343,253

NPV (Enterprise Value)

$

684,246,859,028

Net Debt

 

(416,341,000,000)

Equity

267,905,859,028

Total Diluted Shares Oustanding

 

3,243,000,000

Equity

Value Per Share

 

82.61

Also, risk and time were measured by this valuation method by the use of a risk-adjusted

weighted average cost of capital (WACC) for Walmart. This valuation yielded an indication

of value at $82.61 per share, 41% more than the current market share price of Walmart.

Both of the market-derived P/OI valuation and the firm-derived valuations signal that

Walmart has been underpriced by the market for the following reasons:

  • 1. Significant growth opportunities in the e-commerce segment

  • 2. Significant international growth opportunities, especially in China in both brick-and- mortar and e-commerce channels

  • 3. Distribution infrastructure and exceptional supply chain management that create economies of scale and scope

  • 4. Sound management and focused strategy as an omni-channel retailer

These factors are expected to catalyze growth across all segments for Walmart, especially in

e-commerce where the segment’s growth rate is expected to outstrip the more stabilized

brick-and-mortar growth rate. As indicated, Walmart’s annual online sales increased by

approximately 22% in its most recent fiscal year, a trend that is expected to continue to drive

sales up. 37

Conclusion

Given that the expected trends in the greater retail industry are expected to fuel rapid

expansion of the e-commerce channel and stabilized growth in the brick-and-mortar channel,

Walmart’s omni-channel model and strategy are expected to provide the retail giant with

substantial growth opportunities. Moreover, Walmart’s existing footprint in China and

presence globally allow the firm to capitalize on future demographic changes given the rise of

China’s middle class. In line with these drivers an d as evidenced above, Walmart’s intrinsic

value is greater than its current market value, further indicating that Walmart is the superior

investment choice.

37 (New York Times, 2015)

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