On June 18th, Amazon announced that it had agreed a deal to buy the 20th largest food retailer in the USA. Shares of supermarkets around the world fell as the news that the fastest growing predatory corporation of all time had parked its tanks on their lawn.
In Ethical Consumer's own research we identified how aggressive tax avoidance strategies within all Amazon's companies appeared deliberately designed to help give them the edge in keeping prices low in all the markets in which they operate.
And, as we have observed in the markets in which it operates, this in turn pressurises its competitors to adopt similar tax avoidance measures in order to survive.
This means that we will see food retailers 'examine' their own approach to tax avoidance with a likely downward effect on tax revenues collected by governments the world over. If unchallenged, the long-term consequences of this move is that social care provision for the weakest, already under pressure, will be even further undermined.
In a further twist to the story, we note that the chain acquired by Amazon is one which describes itself as an ethical retailer. Whole Foods Market has built its reputation as a seller of organic and ethically certified foods.
Although not popular with everyone (it also has a reputation for an anti-union stance) this seems a strange bed-fellow for Amazon - a company which has so far shown not the slightest interest in social or environmental issues.
Whole Foods Market does not have a big presence in the UK. It owns eight shops in London and one in Glasgow.
Ethical Consumer has been calling for a boycott of Amazon for its tax avoiding behaviours since 2013. This otherwise ethical retailer should, reluctantly, now be added to the boycott list.