The battle for supremacy between Amazon and Walmart veered into a trash-talk phase as it shaped into a catfight of sorts over worker pay and alleged tax shirking, where Amazon was the provocateur of the dust-up.
Amazon.com Inc Chief Executive Jeff Bezos challenged retailers to hike their minimum wages to US $ 16 an hour, prompting a comeback from Walmart Inc which asked its rivals to pay taxes.
“Today I challenge our top retail competitors (you know who you are!) to match our employee benefits and our US$ 15 minimum wage. Do it! Better yet, go to $16 and throw the gauntlet back at us.” – Jeff Bezos, Chief Executive, Amazon.com Inc
Amazon has raised its minimum wage to US $ 15 per hour for U.S. employees from November, giving in to critics of poor pay and working conditions at the company. However, critics have said that the hike was not sufficient.
— Dan Bartlett (@danbartlett6) April 11, 2019
After the jibe by Amazon, Walmart’s Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Dan Bartlett struck back on Twitter asking its rival to pay its tax bill, tagging Bezos and using similar language.
“Hey retail competitors out there (you know who you are) how about paying your taxes?,” tweeted Bartlett.
As reported earlier, Amazon paid zero dollars in federal income tax in 2018, according to filings with the SEC – despite nearly doubling its profits.
Amazon’s third-party sales in 2018 accounted for 58 percent of total sales, up from 56 percent in 2017, Bezos said.
Responding to the jibe by Walmart, Amazon has said that it pays all the required taxes in every country where it operates, including US$ 2.6 billion in corporate tax and reporting US$ 3.4 billion in tax expense over the last three years.
“Corporate tax is based on profits, not revenues and our profits remain modest given retail is a highly competitive, low-margin business,” the company said.