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It started as just an online bookstore, but as Amazon has grown, it has proven a threat to the entire retail spectrum. By not having to worry about rent prices, the company can offer lower prices and remain extraordinarily profitable.

Even retail king Wal-Mart has felt the heat, launching a series of price wars beginning in 2009 (especially during the holidays) and becoming much more competitive in the online space.

Photo: Ben Margot | Getty Images