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Amazon puts a figure on its UK sales, and confirms just how far ahead it is of the competition

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Amazon’s UK website turned over almost £3bn in 2011, figures presented to Parliament have shown.

Amazon.co.uk generated net sales of £2.91bn in 2011, according to figures handed to the House of Commons’ public accounts committee by the retailer. The figure was 23.3% up on the previous year. In 2010, the site turned over £2.36bn. That represented a 26.5% rise on the net sales of £1.86bn made in 2009.

The figures come in the same week as Amazon.co.uk is confirmed once more as the UK’s most-visited online shop. The Experian/IMRG November Hot Shops List showed that not only did Amazon retain the top-place in the listings, but it also accounted for 40% of visits to UK department store websites.


Commenting on the hot shops list, in which Amazon was followed by Apple, Argos, Next and Amazon.com, James Murray, digital insight manager for Experian Marketing Services, said: “Department stores are playing an increasingly important role in online retail and remain one of the strongest growth areas within the retail industry as a whole.

“Amazon UK has been the market leader of this category for a number of years now and has been the top retailer in the Hot Shops list for as long as we have been doing it.

“As UK internet usage evolves Britain is spending a greater proportion of its time shopping, with 10% of all time online spent on retail websites, up from 8% last year.”

Amazon.co.uk’s closely-guarded UK sales figures emerged as part of the online retail giant’s submission shared “on a confidential basis” with the House of Commons’ public accounts committee, which has recently questioned companies including Google and Starbucks about their payment of UK corporate taxes. Our use of the figures is permitted under the Open Parliament Licence.

The newly-published figures also show how much VAT Amazon has paid on the sales. The figure was £41m for 2011, £262m in 2010, and £172m in 2009.

The submission, from Andrew Cecil, Amazon’s director, EU public policy, also details Amazon’s corporate structure in the EU. While most of its EU business is headquartered in Luxembourg, a UK company, Amazon.co.uk Ltd, operates its fulfillment and customer service centres, and earns a margin on its operating costs.

Our view: One thing we find fascinating about these figures is just how far ahead of the competition Amazon is. Long-ranked the most visited site in the UK, Amazon.co.uk also appears to have the highest sales – and by a long way.

When Argos released its full-year results in May it claimed the number two position in the UK online retail market. In the 53 weeks to March 3, the multichannel general retailer turned over £3.9bn and said that multichannel sales – those sales which include the internet – represented £1.9bn or 48% of its total sales in the 2011-2012 financial year. Amazon, these figures now show, was a full £1bn ahead of that and enjoying growth that at 23% was well beyond the market average of 16% growth in 2011, as measured by IMRG.

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