Amazon to pop another 10% with 'long runway' ahead in apparel, says Wells Fargo

  • Wells Fargo increases its price target on Amazon to $1755, implying more than 10 percent upside over the next 12 months based on a "long runway" ahead.
  • "We found a meaningful ramp in year-over-year responses from customers stating that they use Amazon for purchases in apparel," analyst Ken Sena wrote.
  • Sena believes more clothing retailers with larger wholesale businesses could be willing to make a deal with the internet goliath.
Jeff Bezos CEO of Amazon.
Joe Klamar | AFP | Getty Images
Jeff Bezos CEO of Amazon.

Amazon accounted for 30 percent of all growth in retail in the fourth quarter, but that doesn't mean the e-commerce giant is running out of room to make even more sales, according to a Wells Fargo survey.

About 85 percent of respondents in the survey were Amazon users, and 82 percent noted that Amazon is a top five shopping destination, Wells Fargo analyst Ken Sena wrote on Wednesday. "Despite this, 76 percent of Amazon-users use the site for less than 40 percent of their shopping (leaving much more room for increased purchase from existing users)."

The analyst increased his price target on shares of Amazon to $1,755 from $1,700, implying 10 percent upside from Wednesday's closing price. Shares of Amazon slipped 0.3 percent Thursday.

Under CEO Jeff Bezos' direction, Amazon has steadily poached traffic from traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, putting pressure on competitors like Walmart and Target.

Hoping to keep critics at bay, Target has been successfully fostering its apparel business, especially its private label ventures. Its Cat & Jack kids clothing brand generated more than $2 billion just one year following its launch, encouraging plans to introduce several more brands before the end of the year.

"The number that selected Amazon as a preferred shopping destination is significantly lower when compared to results from a year ago," noted Sena. "Even accounting for a margin of error, it could reflect the momentum seen at Target and Walmart in the last 12 months."

Shares of Target, which underperformed significantly during 2017, have turned around and are outperforming the S&P 500 over the past quarter, three months, six months and 12 months.

But while Sena says he sees some improvement at Amazon's rivals, the analyst categorized the marginal drop in preference as more of an opportunity for Bezos.

"We found a meaningful ramp in year-over-year responses from customers stating that they use Amazon for purchases in apparel, auto parts and sporting goods – all of which is not ideal for our traditional retail space," the analyst wrote, referring to the clothing and accessories space as a "long runway" for the company.

Amazon is making a "hard push" into fashion, the analyst added, frequently tweaking their strategy to make the business more profitable, likely a more-finicky space relative to books or electronics. Still, Sena believes more clothing retailers with larger wholesale businesses could be willing to make a deal with the internet goliath.

"Amazon is not just one more channel to sell product through. Some retailers are testing partnerships with the company in more creative ways - for example, Nike recently announced a pilot launch in which they began shipping select style directly to Amazon," he explained.

"The behemoth site is clearly a threat to almost all retail companies, and each one seems to be taking a different approach."