Amazon Overtakes Wal-Mart as Biggest Retailer

(Los Angeles Times/TNS) -

Amazon.com surpassed Wal-Mart Stores Inc. as the world’s biggest retailer on Friday, after reporting a surprise jump in profit in the second quarter.

The e-commerce giant said net income was $92 million, or 19 cents a share, in the three months ended June 30. That’s compared with a net loss of $126 million, or 27 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Analysts were expecting a loss of 15 cents a share, according to FactSet.

Revenue jumped 20 percent to $23.2 billion.

On Friday, Amazon shares rose $47.24, or 9.8 percent, to $529.42, bringing Amazon’s market cap to $247.6 billion. Wal-Mart’s market cap was $230.5 billion.

Amazon.com is trying to venture into areas beyond its domain of books and household goods. The company has gotten into grocery delivery and also offers free video streaming for Amazon Prime members, who pay $99 a year for perks including free two-day shipping.

Amazon has been battling with Wal-Mart and other retailers for shoppers who continue to be reticent about spending.

The online retailer recently offered a one-day shopping event called “Prime Day,” with more discounts than Black Friday.

Not to be outdone, Wal-Mart also offered a big sale on the same day with thousands of discounts. Wal-Mart is also testing out a similar free-shipping program to its shoppers for an annual fee of $50.