In a letter to shareholders, Amazon founder/CEO Jeff Bezos challenged retailers to match the company’s $15 minimum wage or exceed it.
“We had always offered competitive wages,” Bezos wrote. “But we decided it was time to lead – to offer wages that went beyond competitive. We did it because it seemed like the right thing to do. Today I challenge our top retail competitors (you know who you are!) to match our employee benefits and our $15 minimum wage. Do it! Better yet, go to $16 and throw the gauntlet back at us. It’s a kind of competition that will benefit everyone.”
Bezos also said that the share of third-party sales on Amazon has grown from 3 percent of total sales in 1999 to 58 percent in 2018, exceeding the company’s first-party sales.
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“And it’s a high bar too,” he added, “because our first-party business has grown dramatically over that period, from $1.6 billion in 1999 to $117 billion this past year.”
He downplayed Amazon’s retail presence, calling the company “a small player in global retail.”
“We represent a low single-digit percentage of the retail market, and there are much larger retailers in every country where we operate. And that’s largely because nearly 90 percent of retail remains offline, in brick-and-mortar stores.”
Amazon Go, the company’s cashier-less storefront in 10 locations, has been the company’s attempt to reach these consumers by getting “rid of the worst thing about physical retail: checkout lines,” wrote Bezos.
(Although the stores don’t currently accept cash, that will change, the company acknowledged this week.)