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Trending: Amazon Go could cannibalise high street, face Trump’s wrath

Amazon is no stranger to controversy, be that in its fiscal arrangements around the world or putting high street stores out of business as it cannibalises retailing online

Trending: Amazon Go could cannibalise high street, face Trump’s wrath
Front of New York Post harks back to the 1950s

Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) is no stranger to controversy, be that in its fiscal arrangements around the world or putting high street stores out of business as it cannibalises retailing online.

Some of its innovations have even been accused of being dangerous, such as drone deliveries of orders.

Fresh from launching its new audio gimmick the Amazon Echo, the online retailer is now accused of standing ready to take its battle for retail supremacy into the high street – literally.

The company announced on Monday plans to roll out Amazon Go. As its promotional video shows, going shopping could be as easy as walking into a store, going to the area you know you will find what want, and then just walking out with it. Not shoplifting, but with your bank details scanned as you walk away. See more 

But unlike offering shoppers choice and an alternative to high street retailing, the online behemoth was accused this week of killing off jobs by the New York Post newspaper.

The paper said Amazon was ushering in cashier-less stores. What is more, it isn’t just about what Amazon is doing – but what it might do to other retailers on Main Street.

The risk facing the high street is that other retailers may install the software and loyalty systems to allow them to reduce labour costs. They might be behind Amazon, whose spread is huge on account of 20 years of online retailing and a massive client base, but to survive retailers may well be forced rather than tempted into following suit.

Doesn’t end there, either. Amazon in 2015 had around 304mln active customers globally. That’s more than double eBay’s 110mln but behind the 800mln-plus active users of Apple Inc’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iTunes platform.

There’s nothing to stop Apple, for example, or even eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), entering the high street, chasing Amazon Go’s lead. It might even be inevitable that a half-decent success of Amazon Go will have other online retailers move into the already credit-crunch weakened high street.

But most of all, is Amazon ready to face the wrath of US President-elect Donald Trump?

Trump is no big fan of technology and his election platform in November was about protectionism, job creation and defending the old economy.

Trump may bask in the limelight and press photographers’ lenses as he did on Monday when news was announced that Japan's SoftBank has agreed to invest $50bn in the United States, aiming to create 50,000 jobs.

That, after all, is the job creation he now desperately needs to avoid being accused of being a fraud.

But the idea that Amazon might take jobs out of the economy, is another matter.

So whether Trump really can undermine Amazon’s brave new idea or not, he is almost certain to take a pop at Amazon. At very least he can make things messy and score some kudos with the voters who are entrusting him with being their guardian for prosperity.

Amazon shares were up 0.5% at $763.32 on Tuesday.

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