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Walmart responds to Amazon’s challenge over pay and benefits

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart is not letting Jeff Bezos’ challenge to other retailers go unanswered.

On Thursday, Bezos issued a challenge to other retailers — without calling out any specific company — to match Amazon’s pay and benefits. In his annual letter to shareholders, Bezos wrote: “Today I challenge our top retail competitors (you know who you are!) to match our employee benefits and our $15 minimum wage.”

Walmart did not waste much time in responding. In a tweet, Walmart executive VP of corporate affairs Dan Bartlett wrote, “Hey retail competitors out there (you know who you are) how about paying your taxes?” shared a link to an article about Amazon paying $0 in federal taxes on more than $11 billion in profits last year.

And in a second tweet, Bartlett wrote: “The vast majority of our warehouse associates have been making more than $15 for a long time. And they still get quarterly performance bonuses.”

A spokesperson for Amazon defended the company’s position in an email to Chain Store Age.

“Amazon pays all the taxes we are required to pay in the U.S. and every country where we operate, including paying $2.6 billion in corporate tax and reporting $3.4 billion in tax expense over the last three years,” the spokesperson said. “Corporate tax is based on profits, not revenues, and our profits remain modest given retail is a highly competitive, low-margin business and our continued heavy investment.”

“We have invested more than $160 billion in the U.S. since 2011, building a network of more than 125 fulfillment and sortation centers, air hubs and delivery stations as well as cloud-computing infrastructure and wind and solar farms,” the Amazon spokesperson added. “We invest heavily in research and development at our Seattle headquarters and 18 tech hubs across the country. We are creating tens of thousands of quality jobs each year with industry-leading pay for people of all skill levels, bringing our total workforce in the U.S. to more than 250,000.”

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