A new national coalition of business groups representing thousands of retailers will press the U.S. government for stricter antitrust laws, including measures that might force Amazon to spin off some of its business lines.
The group, called Small Business Rising, announced itself on 6 April and includes the National Grocers Association, the American Booksellers Association, the Alliance for Pharmacy Compounding, trade groups representing office supply stores, independent hardware merchants, and merchant groups in 12 cities.
The campaign has no separate staff or budget but will rely on the coordinated efforts of its member groups.
The alliance will urge Congress to pass a law forbidding the owner of a dominant online marketplace from selling its products in competition with other retailers.
Such a law would effectively separate Amazon’s own retail business from its function as a platform for third-party sellers.
Retailers selling through Amazon’s website have complained of more and higher fees and Amazon’s practice of buying products from wholesalers to sell on its own account, cutting out conventional retailers selling on Amazon’s website.
Doug Mrdeza, a Michigan hardware store owner, told the Wall Street Journal he laid off 40 employees after Amazon hiked his fees and started selling goods it bought from his suppliers.
David Guernsey, an office supply retailer in Virginia, told the WSJ that government agencies are buying more on Amazon but if he sold through the site, he would be forced to give Amazon data about his pricing, customers, and suppliers.
About 1,800 independent bookstores are selling on Amazon in an attempt to survive, according to a statement by the American Booksellers Association; 75 stores that were association members went out of business last year, the group reported.
Such stories “are powerful and motivating for lawmakers,” said Stacy Mitchell, director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, an advocacy group that leads the Small Business Rising campaign, in comments quoted by the WSJ. 
“It’s a real business that’s going to go under with a real community that’s going to suffer as a result,” she said.
In a statement quoted by the WSJ, Amazon accused the new business group of “suggesting misguided interventions in the free market that would kill off independent retailers and punish consumers by forcing small businesses out of popular online stores, raising prices, and reducing consumer choice and convenience.”
Amazon has reported spending about $18 million on lobbying efforts in 2020, much of the effort focused on keeping antitrust laws no stronger, and no more strongly enforced, than they are now.
TREND FORECAST: While the strategies and goals seem nebulous, this is the beginning of a new anti-trust trend. As we continue to report, with money cheap, merger and acquisition activity continues to accelerate, thus eliminating competition as the Bigs get bigger. Indeed, just yesterday, Microsoft continued its buying spree, gobbling up Nuance Communications Inc. in a $16 billion software deal.
Along with anti-tax, anti-vax, anti-immigration, anti-establishment movements we forecast will continue to accelerate, so, too, will anti-monopoly/anti-trust.

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