Has Amazon ‘destroyed the retail industry’ in the U.S.?
Steven Mnuchin, the U.S. treasury secretary, thinks Amazon.com is deserving of some legal scrutiny.
In an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” program yesterday, Mr. Mnuchin, said that he agreed with the Justice Department’s decision to open an antitrust investigation into Amazon and other technology giants, including Alphabet and Facebook.
Amazon, according to Mr. Mnuchin, has “destroyed the retail industry across the United States, so there’s no question they’ve limited competition.”
Mr. Mnuchin admitted that concerns about limiting competition have been raised in the past as other retailers, notably Walmart, grew to dominant positions in the U.S. market. The difference, he said, is that Walmart developed a business model that didn’t shut off opportunities for smaller companies to compete.
Amazon maintains that its model is good for small and medium-sized businesses. It frequently cites that half of the sales transacted on its platform come from third-party sellers. The recent two-day Prime Day event was the biggest 48-hour period for marketplace sellers in Amazon’s history with sales exceeding $2 billion on a global basis.
The retail business is not completely foreign to Mr. Mnuchin. He was once a board member of Sears Holdings and was among those named in a lawsuit that alleged individuals, led by former CEO and chairman Edward Lampert, were responsible for taking billions of dollars out of the company, leading to its eventual demise.
Although Amazon is not alone in the government’s focus on big tech, the company has been the target of criticism by President Trump, who has frequently objected to coverage of himself and his administration by The Washington Post. That paper is owned by Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, and operates independently of the company.
- Amazon has ‘destroyed the retail industry’ so US should look into its practices, Mnuchin says – CNBC
- Alexa, How Was Prime Day? Prime Day 2019 Surpassed Black Friday and Cyber Monday Combined – Amazon.com
- Sears Holdings sues Eddie Lampert for illegally stripping retailer of its assets – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you agree with Steven Mnuchin’s assessment that Amazon has “destroyed the retail industry across the U.S.” and “limited competition” to the detriment of American consumers? Do you think Amazon is deserving of antitrust scrutiny, whether or not you agree with Mr. Mnuchin’s assertion?