Amazon goes to places , where mankind has never been before ….

Wales !

A City in The Principality of Wales . Moreover a flat in that City. And one man in that flat in that City in Wales . Amazon are under the impression that there over 11,000 Amazon sellers in this one flat in Cardiff .

His Majesty’s Revenue & Collection have discovered that man in that flat owes them over £500,000 in unpaid VAT. That equates to £2.5 million in sales . Pretty impressive for one man to run 11,000 companies based five thousand miles away.

It is of no surprise to learn that the said man was unaware of his global empire . Or rather didn’t, until he found 508 letters in his mail box ( I have to say I think I might notice if there were 50. Ari would have noticed one and eaten it ).

He instructed his solicitor to contact HMRC who at the time knew of no such enquiry . Moreover the companies remained on Amazon.

Amazon are the cutting edge of technology. Or so we assume . It may come as no surprise to many UK Tax payers that many of their records with UK Government are actually held and maintained on an Amazon Cloud. Yet neither party are able to detect a dodgy set up where 11,000 (Chinese) companies are registered for VAT at one Address where all 11,000(apparently) companies have unpaid VAT bills.

This would all be mildly amusing, but not for Dylan Davies-The flat owner, if it were not down right scary. I have no doubt Amazon would say that this type of problem is so big (as they do for counterfeiting) that it is impossible to stop completely . A rather cynical voice in my head , says ‘why would they?’. They have made the sales taken the commissions and if the problem is too big to stop it is probably too big to want to stop.

The question is than to be asked of HMRC. Why have they allowed 11,000 overseas companies to be VAT registered at a private address? You don’t need proof of address for VAT registration (slightly odd I think). Does none of this sound some sort of warning bell within our august group of revenue collectors on behalf of the His Majesty’s Government? Errr…. apparently not . Same old story but not quite on the grand scale of the Covid Loan scams( note the the difference is was Her Majesty’s Government for the loans.)

Over the next six months he got tax bills for 11,000 Chinese companies after they fraudulently used his Cardiff address to register for VAT.

“It’s been horrendous,” said Mr Davies, who got letters from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) demanding tax amounting to £500,000.

HMRC admitted the situation did not raise alarm bells at the tax office.

“You’d think there’d be a systems with the technology today that would have picked it up immediately,” Mr Davies said.

He told the police and HMRC but the brown letters just kept coming

BBC News

Back to Amazon. Being at the cutting edge of technology one would think that it would not take Amazon with all its resources to enter a small piece of software within in its rather large piece of software which could track the VAT registrations and flag up any unusual activity . There are those out there, much better qualified than I, well it is actually quite complex . Well, we are talking Amazon, a company that handles 60,000 orders an hour with annual revenues in excess of $500 billion pa. We are not talking even about the UK Government which is well known for not being able to introduce large IT projects successfully . This is one of the world’s largest companies. A company that is extraordinarily successful because of its ability to handle data.

Data, the one component of every organisation, which we are constantly being told is the key to future success.

In the world today, data is probably the thing that matters most. It can tell you before the airplane’s brakes fail. It can predict the onset of a natural disaster or forecast when you might suffer a heart attack. This isn’t fantasy or a future state. It’s happening today.


Yet some fail to keep tabs on it. Amazon will respond to the huge amount of counterfeits that are on the platform, that the reality is the problem is too big. I suspect they would say the same about a flat in Wales. It’s too big.

Daily I speak to customers who are Amazon sellers about the issues that Amazon raise with them and their suppliers questioning genuine product, its origins , make up, suitability and conformity whilst right under their noses there is complete and utter havoc that actually impacts upon their customers indirectly but far more forcefully, but they (amazon) can’t really be bothered with . They will respond saying that have closed thousands of sellers and blocked millions of counterfeits but they don’t actually tell you what gets through. If any retailer of any size, in any major trading nation was to have been found to sell a similar proportion of counterfeits or assisted with large scale VAT evasion they would be closed down over night or at very least severely punished.

The company said it invested more than $700 million and employed more than 10,000 people last year to “protect our store from fraud and abuse.” It also established a “Counterfeit Crimes Unit” last year to refer suspected counterfeit cases to law enforcement.

Amazon has faced criticism from lawmakers over counterfeit products in recent years, and a bipartisan group of US senators recently introduced legislation to try to limit counterfeit merchandise from appearing on online retail platforms.

The INFORM Consumers Act would require online retailers to authenticate the identity of “high-volume third-party sellers, which will help deter the online sale of counterfeit goods by anonymous sellers.” Retailers such as Home Depot and Walgreens support the measure.

Amazon opposes the bill.

“This legislation favors large brick-and-mortar retailers, at the expense of small businesses that sell online, while doing nothing to prevent fraud and abuse or hold bad actors accountable,” the company said last month.

……….Fewer than 0.01% of products sold on Amazon received a counterfeit complaint from customers, the company said. “Those complaints were quickly investigated for accuracy, and Amazon took appropriate action on listings and accounts.”

CNN Business

You can be absolutely certain that as soon as one is taken down or a false tax number is discovered another will be there the following day if not sooner. You only have to type the word Disney(just did it) into Amazon for a whole load of Disney Type (quite clearly not Disney licensed product) . How does that happen without Amazon’s acquiescence ?

As an organisation they have quite clearly gone to places no one has ever been to before and in most cases , fortunately, no one wants to.

Never mind all that , what is it I need urgently by tomorrow….

How Healthy is your High Street (and anywhere else you may you buy your stuff) ?

I make no apologies apart from to the authors . I have plagiarised the majority of the data in this post from a report Schematic IQ –Johnson Controls (via Retail Gazette) . I would have no personal access to this kind of stuff.

Much of the stats that are below are from 2022 . Not altogether surprising as it is only March 2023 . However I think as what happens in one year tends to influence the following year , they are remain useful . I have also looked at some European comparisons in order to illustrate that the patterns are very similar .

Another significant year to look at 2019 ( which all these illustrations include) . It would be very easy to use this as Benchmark of where we should all be vis a vis Pre and Post Covid. What this does not take into account of are other major psychological events that have also occurred. The war in Ukraine and political turmoil in the UK, to name but two.

Whilst none of this will be much of a surprise as in the early part of the year we were still under some form of Covid restrictions, plus the Ukraine War starting, and the latter part of the year , in the UK we had a huge amount of uncertainty courtesy of the Tory Party, and finally huge Energy prices increases. Great year for a boost in Consumer Confidence ! That all being considered the stats don’t look that bad . Other significant changes were the decrease in online spending and the increase in Bricks & Mortar.

Using the illustrations I thought this would be helpful for Retailers , from wherever in Europe. Most experiencing similar troughs, and peaks throughout the same period. For those who do not think Sport plays a major part in our economies should look at the French Chart . At least in part, the sharp rise in Nov/Dec was attributed to them reaching the World Cup finals.

And finally the World view. Naturally those numbers in blue are the increases and in red the decreases .

Whilst footfall is really important, it does not always relate to what goes through the till. Nor does it say anything about ‘now’ . Of course , it couldn’t as it was conducted last year . A number of my customers have been surprised that January and February were not nearly as bad as they expected . Some of this will be explained by inflation. Prices have gone up, hence whilst their takings are holding steady, they are actually selling less product. There are minor benefits to this. If you are increasing prices along with their inflationary cost increases you are still make the same gross margin but actually taking as much cash through the till but having to do less work for it. In theory.

It is a very mixed picture. Some major retailers are facing very difficult times e.g. John Lewis et al . But I am not sure this about the health of the High street as opposed to the health of any particular chain and the changing retail landscape. It is certainly not all about the threat of online although many retailer’s would argue otherwise. Online share of the UK retail market has actually dropped within the last 12 months.

The chains are more about looking at structure and data analytics (guess what, so are online operators). The independents are more about ( or rather they should be) service levels, variety and range of stock and developing their profile with their local community.

The one thing we can learn from Covid is that the Independent can be very resilient and innovative . If they were able to survive the very unhealthy High Street of Covid then they will undoubtedly thrive in a retail High Street that is somewhat less sickly than it was in the previous three years. The Multiples have different issues to contend with that go beyond the general demeanour of the Consumer. I just wish some of the big organisations would stop using Covid as an excuse for poor service levels . Weekly I get an email from my bank HSBC starting with….

Due to the impacts of the Covid 19 pandemic its become increasingly difficult for our call centres and processing teams to maintain normal service levels.

HSBC Reported profit after tax increased by $2.0bn to $16.7bn year 2022

Come on Bank ,your profits are very healthy , put a bit towards making your service levels healthier or at very least up date your standard emails .

Sorry, I digress. But even HSBC is still on some High Streets .

Despite all that is going here and abroad there are still many healthy retailers and there will continue to be so. The key to health in whatever form is if you’ve got it, the tough (read ill for the human) times are easier to handle and more likely to lead to a positive outcome.

Retail sales as measured by volume rose by 1.2 per cent in February compared with January, according to figures out this morning from the Office for National Statistics. The increase, the largest since last October, exceeded City expectations for a 0.2 per cent rise. 

Strong discount department stores drove a 2.4 per cent rise in non-food sales. Food sales, by comparison, were up 0.9 per cent. 

Aled Patchett, head of retail and consumer goods at Lloyds Bank, said: “A rise in sales for February suggests that consumer confidence is heading in the right direction after a difficult few months.”

The Times 24/03/2023

I believe there is a direct corelation between our own health and that of any retail business..


  • Eat well
  • exercise mind
  • exercise body
  • sleep well


  • Eat well – Making sure you have good quality stock . Dont just look for deals . Ask why is a deal being offered . Look at them as fast food -quick & easy but not conducive to healthy retailing . Continually look for new product
  • Exercise the mind -Be creative and proactive
  • Exercise the body- Interact with your consumer , look at ways of improving customer service. Do what the multiples cant
  • Sleep well – when the business is shut for the day make sure you do as well

To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.


All this plagiarising was done by my human AI (Artificially Intelligent)and not an AI Bot 😂