Donald Trump isn’t the only one who has issues with Amazon. The former CEO of Walmart has criticized the eCommerce giant and even suggested Congress look into splitting it up.
“They’re not making money in retail, and they’re putting retailers out of business,” Bill Simon told CNBC, pointing out that Amazon has operated its retail segment at a loss for decades and subsidizes it with profits from other areas.
“It’s anti-competitive, it’s predatory, and it’s not right,” said Simon. “It’s not going to hurt the big ones. Walmart can adjust. It’ll be there. Costco will continue to thrive. It’ll hurt small retailers, and it’ll hurt specialty chains. You see what’s happened to Toys R Us and department stores. J.C. Penney is in trouble.”
“That’s because Amazon sells below cost and continues to do that,” added Simon, who serves on the board of directors for Darden Restaurants. “It’s destroying jobs, and it’s destroying value in the sector.”
Simon’s statements came after President Trump criticized Amazon in a Twitter post, writing that “Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!”
While a 1992 Supreme Court ruling said states couldn’t collect sales taxes from mail-order catalog companies unless the businesses had a physical presence in a state, people like Gerald Storch call it an “antiquated decision.”
“It came down to a Supreme Court decision that came down three years before Jeff [Bezos] shipped his first book,” Storch, former vice chairman of Target, told CNBC.
“If you read that Supreme Court decision … it was based on all kinds of things that simply don’t apply anymore,” said Storch, who worked with Amazon in 2001. “At that point, eCommerce was nothing; it was zero. Now it’s taken over the whole economy.”
He added that half of all online product searches begin and end on Amazon.
“Amazon is a lot more powerful than people realize,” said Storch.