Online retail giant Amazon.com Inc. has warned Philadelphia officials behind closed doors that a proposal to ban so-called cashless stores would affect the company’s plans to open a brick-and-mortar location here, city officials said Thursday.
Officials revealed Amazon’s warning the same day that City Council sent Mayor Jim Kenney a bill that seeks to protect the city’s poorest consumers, but is also supported by the “world’s largest” ATM operator and groups advocating for low-wage workers. The proposal passed by a 12-4 vote on a day when Amazon scrapped its plans for a second headquarters in New York City, citing local opposition.
The proposed ordinance, in a city where not all government offices accept cash for payments, would prohibit most stores from refusing to accept cash or charging cash-paying customers a higher price. Violators could be fined up to $2,000.
Amazon, perceived as a threat by many brick-and-mortar retailers, plans to open as many as 3,000 Amazon Go cashierless stores across the country over the next few years.
During the Council meeting, Councilman Allan Domb said Amazon called the Commerce Department “several times” to say that if the bill passed, the company would not consider opening a cashless store in Philadelphia. Domb, owner of a prominent Center City real estate business, said an Amazon Go store could create 100 jobs.
Mike Dunn, a city spokesperson, confirmed that Amazon had contacted the city about the proposed ban. Read more