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CNBC has an interview with real estate investor Sam Zell in which he said that he does not think that “Amazon reinvented the wheel. I don't think buying Whole Foods is going to make it easier for Amazon to fulfill its objectives … "Basically, Amazon is buying depots, not retailers.”

Zell tells CNBC that he has little confidence in bricks-and-mortar retail: “I'm generally a contrarian. I generally rub my hands together at the opportunity for serious dislodgment. [But] an area that's in this much disarray, with so many weak players, it's not an area where I would want to deploy capital at this time.” And, he notes that “the U.S. has four or five times the amount of square footage per person of retail as anywhere else in the world.”
KC's View:
I’m not a Sam Zell fan - he has a dubious record when it comes to employee relations and countenancing sexual harassment within his organizations, plus when he owned the Chicago Tribune he struck me as having an utter disregard for journalism. In short, he represents everything about rich, arrogant guys (I’d prefer another noun, but this is a family website) that I utterly hate.

But on this one, I think he’s in the ballpark. Amazon is more interested in real estate than bricks-and-mortar retailing, and physical retailing isn’t a great basket into which to put your eggs.