Amazon Retail Chief Jeff Wilke Defends Private Brand

Amazons retail chief Jeff Wilke defended the retailer from allegations that it unfairly competes with third-party vendors who sell on its site. .saying Amazon’s Private Brand business is smaller than competitive retailers

Reported by Bloomberg, “Most of our competitors have a much larger percentage of their sales in private label” than Amazon, Wilke said during the company’s re:MARS conference in Las Vegas. He added that private brands accounted for about 1% of the retailer’s sales. Private brand has long been a strategy of the largest retailers in the world including Sears, Kroger, A&P, Home Depot Publix, Best Buy and dozens of other retailers. In 1927, Kenmore first appeared on a Sears laundry appliance. By 1936, Sears had already sold 1 million Kenmore laundry items. Today, nearly one in every three American homes contains a Kenmore appliance. Sales of Costco’s Kirkland Signature private brand grew to $39 billion in 2018, up from $35 billion the previous year, the retailer reported in December.

The news follows increasing scrutiny from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the FTC and the Department of Justice over Amazon’s relationship with third-party sellers, alongside calls for the tech giant to be broken up.

Wilke went on, “We believe that the most substantial entities in the economy deserve scrutiny, and our job is to build the kind of company that passes that scrutiny with flying colors.”

Wilke has also denied claims Amazon Inc should be broken up.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.