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THINK BIG

Secret Amazon brands are quietly taking over Amazon.com

Reuters/Elijah Nouvelage
The Amazon experience.
Alison Griswold
By Alison Griswold

Reporter

Arabella. Lark & Roe. Mae. NuPro. Small Parts.

You might not know it from their names, but these brands all belong to Amazon.

Amazon’s private label business is booming, on pace to generate $7.5 billion this year and $25 billion by 2022, according to estimates from investment firm SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. To accelerate that growth, the company is inviting manufacturers to create products exclusively for its collection of private brands.

The “Amazon Accelerator Program” is hiring a senior product manager for private brands, CNBC reported. The job listing invites applicants to “invent and Think Big to take an idea from concept to reality for Amazon customers.” Duties include managing and planning inventory, identifying business opportunities, and working across a wide swath of Amazon divisions, including consumables, Prime Pantry, Prime Fresh, Prime Now, and Amazon Go.

Another job listing spotted by CNBC, for a private brands program leader, notes that the “Private Brands team is rapidly expanding and is looking for an exceptional product leader to grow the business.”

Brands created through the accelerator will be exclusive to Amazon, but not owned by it, the company said. Manufacturers will create, produce, trademark, and own the products they offer.

“Amazon Accelerator creates new opportunities for manufacturers and offers a way for them to launch brands and products directly to Amazon customers,” an Amazon spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “For customers, this program adds products to our assortment and allows us to offer an even wider selection of high quality products at a great value.”

Amazon’s push into private labels could threaten the third-party sellers who do business on its website, and are important to the company’s own bottom line. Amazon generated $9.7 billion in revenue from commissions and services it provided to third-party sellers (e.g., fulfillment and shipping fees) in the latest quarter, ended July 26. Earlier this week, eBay sent Amazon a cease-and-desist accusing it of a shady, multiyear campaign to lure eBay sellers over to the Amazon marketplace.

But the massive volume of stuff peddled by third-party sellers also creates problems. Amazon at times has struggled to police offensive products, or to banish counterfeits from the marketplace. Private label brands created by Amazon and manufacturers it works with exclusively could help the company get a tighter grip on the quality of merchandise sold across the site.

According to a separate report by CNBC, Amazon has been promoting its house brands at the bottom of listings for competitors’ products.

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