Amazon stocked on toys that Wal-Mart, Target don’t have

Posted 12/12/11

NEW YORK - The number of out-of-stock toys is increasing at the websites of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Sears Holdings Corp.’s Kmart chain while Inc. remains almost fully stocked, according to a Bloomberg Industries analysis.

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, was missing 34 percent of 116 toys tracked as of Dec. 7, up from 16 percent a month ago, according to a report led by Poonam Goyal, a Bloomberg Industries analyst. Out-of-stock items totaled 46 percent at Target’s website, 23 percent at Kmart and 29 percent at Toys “R” Us. Amazon didn’t have two of the 116 toys.

The data highlights Amazon’s advantage in e-commerce because it also sells the goods of other retailers through its site, so it is more likely to have items in stock, Goyal said. That will train shoppers to rely more on Amazon to find in- demand items, she said.

“These retailers risk their consumers migrating to another retailer,” Goyal said in an interview. These chains haven’t managed their inventory well because being out-of-stock this early means they are missing out on sales, Goyal said.

Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., rose 0.6 percent to $58.32 at the close in New York. Minneapolis-based Target was little changed at $53.50, while Seattle-based Amazon increased 1.3 percent to $193.03 and Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears dropped 2.4 percent to $56.96.

Wal-Mart didn’t have 53 percent of a similar group of toys available on its website on Dec. 10 of last year, according to Bloomberg Industries. Target was missing 45 percent, followed by 44 percent at Toys “R” Us, 18 percent at Kmart and 7 percent at Amazon.

Restock Popular Merchandise

Representatives from Wal-Mart didn’t immediately respond with comment.

Target customers who can’t find a product online can use a feature on the retailer’s website to see stocked items in local stores, Kirsten Halloran, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement.

Toys “R” Us plans to restock popular merchandise tomorrow, including the LeapPad Explorer tablet, Bob Friedland, a spokesman, said in an emailed statement.

Kmart has more merchandise available through in-store pickup, Tom Aiello, a vice president at Sears Holdings, said in an emailed statement. He didn’t comment on when Kmart would restock toys.

Amazon projected how many toys to stock based on sales from previous years, Grace Chung, a spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement.

“We’ve grown up in a super competitive online environment,” Chung said.

Target’s Prices Cheaper

Prices online at Target, the second-largest U.S. discount chain, were 1.4 percent cheaper than Wal-Mart, the Bloomberg Industries survey also showed.

Amazon’s prices were 0.4 percent cheaper than Wal-Mart’s, compared with 4.6 percent a week earlier. Toys “R” Us also gained on Wal-Mart, reducing the price difference from 11.5 percent on Nov. 30 to 7.7 percent. Wal-Mart’s advantage over Kmart remained the same at about 6 percent.

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