Amazon Says Basics, Private Label Lines Aren’t Going Away

Amazon says it’s not going to shutter in-house brands. The statement comes in response to a report from the Wall Street Journal Friday that the e-commerce giant ordered its private label business to cut back on the number of goods it sells, potentially by as much as half. The e-commerce giant has already reduced the number of items it sells under its own in-house brands due to low sales, the report said.

Amazon said in a statement it has no plans to shutter the private label business.

“We never seriously considered closing our private label business and we continue to invest in this area,” a spokesperson said, “just as our many retail competitors have done for decades and continue to do today.”

Regulators and lawmakers have looked critically at Amazon’s private label business. Because Amazon owns its marketplace, it can unfairly elevate its own products over those of private sellers, some antitrust experts have said.

Some sellers that had been doing well on Amazon suddenly found themselves ranking lower as soon as Amazon Basics introduced a similar product, according to a report from The Markup last year. In 2020, then CEO Jeff Bezos testified in front of Congress and was made to answer for kicking a textbook seller off Amazon without notice. Bezos was surprised to hear the story, but said he believes it isn’t a systemic issue.

Last year, Amazon hit an all-time high of nearly 60% of all online retail purchases in the US. 

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