GeekWire – July 17, 2017
Written by Nat Levy
United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, an organization that represents more than 1 million retail workers across the U.S., has come out with criticisms of Amazon’s $13.7 billion deal to buy Whole Foods Market, saying that the deal could hurt customers and workers and lead to significant automation of jobs.
In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, UFCW President Marc Perrone called Amazon an “online retail monopoly” and argued that “the scope and weight of Amazon’s digital reach poses a severe and constant economic threat to consumers, retailers, and especially grocers, irrespective of whether they’re located online or are traditional brick-and-mortar stores.”
Amazon declined to comment. …
We urge you to consider, for example, the facts of Amazon’s growing unfair scope and reach:
- According to a 2016 report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, half of all online shopping searches start directly on Amazon.
- That same report states that within five years, 20 percent of the U.S.’s $3.6 trillion retail market will have shifted online, and Amazon is on track to capture two-thirds of that share.
- Additionally, a report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners last week estimated total U.S. Prime membership at 85 million, which is up 35 percent from the year-ago quarter and double from two years ago.
- CIRP also noted that 63 percent of U.S.-based Amazon customers are Prime members.
In terms of impact, Amazon arguably poses a greater threat to our retail economy than any other online or traditional brick and mortar grocer. Again, we urge each commissioner to consider the following impacts: