WASHINGTON - Amazon on Monday announced the new date for its annual global mega-sale, which it said aims to promote small and medium-sized businesses despite accusations by numerous lawmakers and trade associations that the retail giant is trying to crush competition.
"Prime Day," named for the Amazon subscription service that offers users free delivery and other perks, will be held on Oct. 13-14, the company said.
Launched in 2015, the wildly popular sale is normally held in July but had to be pushed back this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Because of lockdowns, Amazon has faced a huge surge in demand for online shopping and delivery of household goods, forcing its warehouses and supply teams into overdrive.
In its statement, the group said it would spend more than $100 million in new promotions to benefit small and medium-sized businesses and help them win new clients.
The company has played a crucial role during lockdowns around the world, enabling people to stay at home by providing them with food deliveries, cloud services and entertainment on their screens.
In the second quarter, Amazon pulled in $5.2 billion in net profit, double the previous year, and in spite of the $4 billion it invested in managing the crisis.
"During the Covid-19 crisis, we hired an additional 175,000 employees, including many laid off from other jobs during the economic shutdown," Amazon chief Jeff Bezos said in July.
"Third-party sales now account for approximately 60 percent of physical product sales on Amazon, and those sales are growing faster than Amazon’s own retail sales," he said.
"Selling in Amazon's stores has enabled hundreds of thousands of smaller companies to sustain and even grow their sales despite the Covid-19 crisis," Amazon said in a statement.
Amazon's dominance has been questioned by some lawmakers.
During a hearing in July on big tech companies including Amazon, Democratic congressman David Cicilline argued that Amazon's dual role as both platform operator and a seller on the very same platform was essentially anti-competitive.
"These companies as they exist today have monopoly power," Cicilline said.