Reports say that Amazon.com has decided to stop telling third-party sellers on its platform that they cannot offer lower prices on competing websites.
The report gave no details on the decision.
The decision comes in the wake of a letter from Senator Richard Blumenthal arguing that the practice would “stifle market competition and artificially inflate prices.” The December 19 letter was sent to Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph Simons and Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim.
Blumenthal said Amazon had enforced its policy in the past by threatening to remove merchants who violated the contract clause. He argued the policy raised antitrust concerns and should be investigated by US regulators.
Amazon.com has previously said it will close all of its US pop-up stores and focus instead on opening more book stores. The news underscores how the online retailer is still working out its brick-and-mortar strategy.
According to the reports, Pop-up stores for years helped Amazon showcase novel products like its voice-controlled Echo speakers, but the company is now able to market those products and more at its larger chain of Whole Foods stores, acquired in 2017, and cashier-less Amazon Go stores, which opened to the public last year.
It added that the online retail giant will also open more “4-star stores” – stores that sell items rated 4-stars or higher by Amazon customers, a company spokesperson added.