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Amazon HQ
Amazon says hello from Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

In large neon letters a couple stories above street level in its Day 1 office tower in Seattle, Amazon’s message to all who can see it is, “HELLO WORLD.”

Retailers across the United States felt the presence of Amazon long before the e-commerce giant built that new building and said hi to everyone. And, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the rest of world is quickly learning about the “Amazon effect.”

“Virtually every retailer needs to assume Amazon is coming for them,” Eddie Perkin, of Eaton Vance Investment Managers, said in the WSJ piece. “What companies and investors thought were immune categories have turned out not to be immune.”

The report says that investor concern is rising overseas, not necessarily for the same reasons as in the U.S., where retailers who expanded aggressively for years have been forced to close stores as shoppers move online. Share are being dumped in Europe and other places as retailers try to compete online with Amazon and face pressure over prices, delivery and range of products, the report says. Amazon’s international sales increased 16 percent in the first half of 2017 from a year earlier.

Data shows that Amazon’s pushes into fashion and grocery is having a big impact in Europe. About 83 percent of shoppers in the U.K. and 85 percent in Germany bought clothes on Amazon in the past year, according to a survey cited by the WSJ. And grocers in France and the U.K. are investing in online shopping and quick delivery initiatives in a race against the tech giant.

Mark Phelps, an equities chief at AllianceBernstein Global, told the WSJ that Amazon’s impact can be felt “pretty much anywhere on the planet. If you are a retailer and Amazon comes into your area of operation, you will lose sales.”

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