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CNBC reports that Amazon has decided to shut down a three-year-old program called Vendor Express, which was designed “to make it easier for wholesalers to get inventory onto the e-commerce site and avoid having to go through the company's invite-only Vendor Central portal … Vendor Express offered a quick onramp for smaller merchants to have products listed under the tag, ‘sold by Amazon’.”

In an email, Amazon told vendors using the program “that it will stop taking orders as of May 21, and that the program will become ‘permanently unavailable’ starting Jan. 1, 2019. ‘We're constantly looking for ways to improve the selling experience on Amazon,’ the email said. ‘After careful evaluation, we've decided to retire Vendor Express and refocus the business on other selling programs’.”

CNBC says that vendors told it that the program “was fraught with counterfeits from its early days and likely failed to gain traction among high-quality sellers. One vendor, who asked to remain anonymous, said that although Vendor Express asked for samples and certain registration forms before placing large orders, the process wasn't strong enough to ensure authenticity.”

• The Financial Times reports that Japan’s Fair Trade Commission has raided Amazon’s offices in that country “ over allegations the company asked its vendors to shoulder part of the costs for offering their products at a discount on its e-commerce site.” In Japan this is considered to be an antitrust violation.

Amazon says it is cooperating with the investigation.
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