'It's destroying jobs': Ex-Walmart CEO joins Trump in attacking 'predatory' Amazon

  • Walmart's former CEO, Bill Simon, says Amazon is "destroying jobs" and that Congress should consider splitting the company apart.
  • "It's anti-competitive, it's predatory, and it's not right," Simon said.
  • Simon made the remarks after President Trump attacked Amazon on Twitter Thursday, saying the company is "putting many thousands of retailers out of business."


The former CEO of Walmart's US business says Amazon is "destroying jobs" and killing off retail companies, and that Congress should consider splitting the company. 

"It's destroying jobs, and it's destroying value in the sector," Bill Simon, who left Walmart in 2014, said of Amazon on CNBC's "Closing Bell" on Thursday. 

7 shock-worthy facts about Amazon:

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7 shock-worthy facts about Amazon
7.5 percent of Seattle's working-age population are Amazon employees

Amazon has more than 300,000 employees worldwide, and 40,000 in Seattle alone.

As a portion of the city's working-age population — roughly 528,000 — that comes out to 7.5% of the city working at Amazon.

For perspective, if the same portion of New York City's adults worked for one company, that company would have about 488,000 locals on staff.

Amazon accounts for 43% of all online sales

Amazon used to be a way to buy books online; today, it's the default buying site for just about everything, especially for people who have Amazon Prime.

An analysis by Slice Intelligence released in February found that 43% of all US online retail sales were done through Amazon in 2016.

That's up from 33% in 2015 and 25% in 2012.

1 out of every 4 US adults has Amazon Prime.

Speaking of Amazon Prime, the company now counts approximately 63 million people among its subscriber base, or about 25% of the total US adult population.

That number may underestimate the true coverage, however, since it doesn't account for multiple adults in one household all sharing the same Prime account.

Amazon ships 1.6 million packages a day

Amazon fulfillment is a beast of its own.

A report from 2013 (the latest year for which data are available) found Amazon shipped 608 million packages that year, or 1.6 million packages a day.

As of 2015, Amazon estimated its fulfillment centers were within 20 miles of 31% of the US population, and within 20 miles of 50-65% of its core, same-day-accessible market.

That's enough cardboard to span all of West Virginia

A back-of-the-envelope calculation reveals all those packages (not including padded envelopes) yield roughly 26,400 square miles of cardboard.

The total land area of West Virginia, meanwhile, is just north of 24,000 square miles.

Given the speed of Amazon's shipments, the company could blanket the whole US in cardboard in about five months.

45,000 robots roam the floors of Amazon's warehouses

To help those shipments leave the warehouses on time, Amazon relies on a growing fleet of autonomous robots that fetch packages from their shelves and bring them to human employees.

The 45,000 robots live across 20 fulfillment centers in the US. In 2016, the company increased the fleet 50% from its prior head count of 30,000.

Amazon is more valuable than all major brick-and-mortar retailers combined

The sum total of those investments in infrastructure and supply chain management have made Amazon by far the most valuable retailer in the United States.

Amazon's $356 billion valuation is so big, it's larger than Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Macy's, Kohl's, JCPenney, and Sears combined.

With the recent acquisition of Whole Foods, there are no signs the retailer has any plans of slowing down.

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Simon made the remarks after President Trump attacked Amazon on Twitter earlier Thursday. 

"Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!" Trump tweeted.

Simon said Amazon is subsidizing its profit-losing retail arm with other money-making parts of its business. As a result, Amazon can afford to sell goods at cheap prices that many other retailers can't match, he said.

"They're not making money in retail, and they're putting retailers out of business," Simon said. "It's anti-competitive, it's predatory, and it's not right."

The businesses that suffer the most from Amazon's practices are specialty retailers like Toys R Us, which is in the process of liquidating its US business, and mom-and-pop businesses, he said.

"It'll hurt small retailers, and it'll hurt specialty chains," he said. "You see what's happened to Toys R Us and department stores. JCPenney is in trouble."

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