The merchants – who all have physical stores rather than selling only online – today (May 27) launched their anti-Amazon campaign, under the collective banner ” Save our traders (Save our traders) ”.
They include owners of small shops, independent brands, shopping malls and even representatives of large global chains.
If you too want to defend your businesses, the revitalization of town centers, if you too want fairness and justice to be finally restored, join our collective!
️ https://t.co/83OJKVrxev pic.twitter.com/FN2rl4lsJV
– Save our traders! (@Collectif_SNC) May 21, 2021
The collective said: “[Physical shops] are essential to the vitality of our cities.
He argued that they should be able to have a “level playing field” with exclusively online businesses and denounced the “exorbitant privileges that [online giants] benefit from “thanks to” state support “.
Francis Palombi, from shopkeeper group the Confederation of French traders, Told FranceInfo: “This is a flagrant abuse of [the online retailer’s] dominant position. “
He said the group was calling “the rules of the game apply to everyone”.
He said: “When a hypermarket opens, it is subject to very strict authorization requests. When an Amazon warehouse is established, covering 50,000 to 150,000 square meters, it does not [have to] meets the criteria of a commercial building. “
This “lack of fairness” creates “serious consequences, especially with regard to jobs and the destruction of stores,” said the collective.
The collective is calling for “full financial fairness” for online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores, as well as sanctions for “dishonest competition,” a ban on new warehouses and a plan to support physical retailers.
He also calls for mandatory taxes on online-only retailers, based on the “pollutant-pays” principle that the main pollutant should pay the most, claiming that online-only businesses “have a disastrous environmental impact.”
He also underlined a “lack of fairness” in terms of VAT and the fact that the big distribution giants escape corporate tax because their companies are not based in France. Amazon is registered in Luxembourg for sales in EU countries.
He said: “Thanks to this tax rule, Amazon – which has increased its business by 57% [in 2020] – paid zero corporate tax in 2020. “
The company claimed to have suffered a loss of 1.2 billion euros in 2020 despite a record turnover of 44 billion euros in Europe, according to The Guardian.
The collective declared that “a job created by Amazon destroys two jobs in a physical store in France”.
Deserted city centers
The collective is particularly concerned that city centers are becoming “ghost towns” due to the growth of online sales giants.
He said: “The construction of logistics warehouses is damaging our landscape… and the uninterrupted flow of deliveries is wreaking havoc in our cities.”
“Love-hate” relationship in France
France maintains a “love-hate” relationship with Amazon.
It has been in the country for 20 years and now accounts for 30% of the e-commerce market – the largest share of a business – with an estimated 40-50% increase due to Covid-19 lockdowns.
It should double its presence in France in the next three years; with a large warehouse and up to ten new distribution centers scheduled to open each year.
The company now employs more than 10,000 people in the country.
However, a poll found that 70% of the public in France agreed with a petition calling for a “Christmas without the Amazon,” whose signatories included Amazon’s voice critic, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo.
Ms. Hidalgo has been among many high profile politicians to criticize the company; but local politicians are known to support the opening of warehouses, due to their local contribution of jobs and taxes.
In December 2020, Vincent Drezet, tax specialist at Attac, an association which acts as a left-wing think tank while also participating in direct and non-violent action, told The Connexion: “[Amazon] is a symbol of many things in our changing society, with points on the economy, the environment, society and tax policy.
“Do we really need to be pressured into consuming things that we don’t need that are coming from across the world? [And] While Amazon is not solely responsible for the problems in downtown areas, it doesn’t help when people buy books from it rather than the local bookstore. “
France’s love-hate relationship with Amazon