Amazon secretly taking over brands it sells: report

Any remaining doubts that Amazon is intent on total commercial domination can be laid to rest.

No longer content just to sell other companies’ products, the e-commerce behemoth has been secretly taking on the producer’s role for a variety of goods, a new report said.

Some old-fashioned journalistic digging into more than 800 Amazon trademarks revealed that “Amazon has started cutting out the middle-man by selling self-produced items.”

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The products go beyond Amazon’s in-house AmazonBasics brand, digital magazine Quartz reported Aug. 7.

“Amazon sees that a product is selling well, and may decide to work with manufacturers to make the product itself,” the magazine reported.

Quartz identified 19 brands owned by Amazon that sell or have pages on the e-commerce site. Among the brands are Arabella lingerie, Beauty Bar cosmetics, Franklin & Freeman men’s shoes and Strathwood Furniture.

American businesses are already worried about Amazon’s reach into new products and services –the aggressively expanding firm was mentioned in about 10 percent of 700 companies’ earnings conference calls this year so far, according to Reuters.

Amazon’s announcement of its planned $14 billion purchase of Whole Foods knocked grocery stocks dizzy.

“An incredible amount of economic power is now concentrated in Amazon,” The Atlantic reported June 16. “Investors now believe it is stifling competition in the retail sector and the broader American economy.

“As the country’s biggest online retailer of cleaning supplies and home goods, Amazon competes with Walmart, Target, and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

“As a clothing and shoe retailer, it competes with DSW, Foot Locker, and Gap.

“As a distributor of music, books, and television, it competes with Apple, Netflix, and HBO. In the past decade, Amazon has also purchased the web’s biggest independent online shoe store, its biggest independent online diaper store and its biggest independent online comics store.”

The company sold six times as much online last year as Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Nordstrom, Home Depot, Macy’s, Kohl’s and Costco combined, The Atlantic noted, adding that Amazon also was responsible for 30 percent of all online and off-line retail sales growth.

And there are many more tentacles reaching from Amazon headquarters in Seattle into other areas of U.S. commerce. Amazon’s a lender, a book publisher, a film and TV studio, a clothing designer and hardware maker.

“And on top of all this, it operates Amazon Web Services, a $12-billion business that rents servers, bandwidth, and computing power to other companies,” The Atlantic reported.

“Slack, Netflix, Dropbox, Tumblr, Pinterest and the federal government all use Amazon Web Services.”


Photo: Amazon associate Renee Plasencia, of Stockton, gets ready to scan items before stowing them in a portable storage unit to be carried away by an Amazon Robotics robot at the Amazon fulfillment center in Tracy in April 2016. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)


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