Is Amazon a real threat to mega retailer Walmart? Photo: Robert Sullivan, AFP/Getty Images

Who's afraid of the big, bad Amazon?

Walmart, that's who. It's hard to believe, but the biggest retailer in the world fears the potential physical presence of Amazon, should it choose to expand into bricks-and-mortar locations.

John Fleming, Walmart's executive vice-president and chief merchandising officer, described the scenario his company is afraid of -- Amazon opening locations in dense urban areas close to consumers, allowing for immediate pick up, instead of having to wait for delivery – at the Fashion Group International's economic outlook seminar on Wednesday.

"It's a threat. It's a problem," he said.

Given that Amazon seems to carry everything Walmart carries, and then some, would be a problem. And even more of a threat, the fact that Amazon could then deliver product in a day or so would put fear into any savvy retailer.

With the almost-immediate fulfillment and the enormous warehousing that has to exist in order to stock and deliver this service, how could Amazon possibly duplicate it in a physical store?

Another member of the FGI panel, Carl Steidtmann, chief economist at Deloitte Research agreed. "Why would Amazon burden themselves?"

Why? Indeed.

Amazon did not return emails for comment.