business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  From Business Insider:

"Amazon came under fire Tuesday from Etsy CEO Josh Silverman, who alleged in a blog post that the company was trying to turn a proposed California consumer protection bill into a 'wolf in sheep's clothing' that would stifle competition.

"'Amazon is taking bold steps to wipe out its competitors by promoting complex, hard-to-comply-with legislation that only they can afford to absorb. Amazon's goal is to be the only place to buy stuff online,' Silverman wrote."

At issue is a proposed California law "that would make online marketplaces liable for defective products sold on their sites by third parties — like brick-and-mortar stores and most retailers are already — which would be the first such law in the US."

While the original law "exempted online sales of auctioned and handmade goods, as well as classified ads sites, meaning most products sold on marketplaces like Etsy, eBay, and Craigslist," Amazon has come out for a version that would apply to all online marketplaces.

Silverman's argument that this version would make it impossible for smaller competitors to comply, which would put them out of business in the nation's most populous state.

•  In Minnesota, the Star Tribune reports that Best Buy's Q2 online sales were up 242 percent to $4.85 billion.

Overall, Best Buy's Q2 same-store sales were up five percent, with total sales up 3.9 percent to $9.9 billion.  Net earnings increased 81.5% to $432 million.

Which breaks out to online sales being roughly half the company's total for Q2 … which certainly ought to be a lesson to Best Buy as it thinks about its long-term bricks-and-mortar strategy as well as how it should approach the fast-approaching end-of-year holiday shopping season.

•  Women's Wear Daily reports that "Amazon is forging ahead with plans for a luxury brand platform, with the first of a dozen international accessories and ready-to-wear labels opening shops on the site as fashion show season kicks off in September."

These shops, the story says, will operate as their own concessions on the site, which will serve as a platform rather than an an active retailing entity.

According to the story, "The brands partnering with Amazon will also have access to centralized warehousing in the U.S., operated by Amazon, and be able to lean on the tech giant’s vast delivery network.  The platform will be launched in the U.S. initially, and Amazon has been working directly with the brands’ U.S. offices and subsidiaries."