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Amazon claims sales success, UK government posts sales data

updated 01:11 pm EST, Tue November 27, 2012

Supplied sales information requested to remain confidential

Amazon has released details on its Black Friday and Cyber Monday Kindle sales, calling the two days the "best ever for the Kindle family." The figures are released at the same time as confidential sales figures for the company's UK operations were published by a parliamentary committee investigating its British tax affairs.

Global Kindle sales over the holiday shopping weekend are claimed to be more than double last year's record numbers. According to Amazon, Cyber Monday was the biggest day ever for Kindle sales worldwide. For the last three months, the Kindle e-readers and Kindle Fire series have occupied the top four spots on the Amazon worldwide best sellers list, and since September 6th, nine of the top 10 best-selling products on Amazon worldwide have been either Kindles, Kindle accessories, or digital content.

The released UK tax documents were submitted to the Public Accounts Committee of the UK government, as part of an investigation on how large companies can pay small amounts of corporation tax in the UK, despite their presence in the country. During a discussion earlier this month attended by Starbucks, Google, and members of the committee, Amazon representative Andrew Cecil claimed he did not know UK sales figures, only sales for Europe as a whole. This was considered unsuitable by the committee, which then asked for the UK sales figures to be delivered in writing.

The document supplied to the committee explained how the company operates in the UK and also in Europe, though the sales figures that followed were requested to remain confidential. While warehouses and fulfillment centers are located all over the continent, all of the European websites are mostly controlled through a number of firms based in Luxembourg. Fulfillment and customer service centers in the UK are operated through a UK-registered company, and though for the most part it is still controlled by the Luxembourg business, it is considered its own entity instead of a "branch."

The figures supplied showed net sales and UK Value-Added Tax collected by the company for the previous three years. Both Net Sales and UK VAT have gone up in the period, from 1.8 billion and 172 million respectively in 2009, to 2.9 billion and 416 million in 2011.

While the sales figures are an interesting statistic, the VAT figure is meaningless to the committee, as it is interested in Corporation Tax, something which was not explained in the supplied written evidence.

by MacNN Staff



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