UK sales at online retailer Amazon rose 14 per cent to £5.3bn last year, as British consumers engaged in an online shopping bonanza.
A filing with Companies House showed Amazon’s UK division recorded a profit of £34.4m during the period, paying out £11.9m in tax.
UK sales accounted for 9.4 per cent of Amazon’s global turnover, reflecting a rapid expansion in the UK. Some 7,722 staff worked in the UK business last year, up from 5,912 in 2013.
During Cyber Monday, 1 December 2014, Amazon recorded sales of 64 items every second, just days after Black Friday when Amazon UK recorded its busiest day on record, selling more than 5.5m goods. The firm said sales “surpassed all expectations”.
Amazon’s Luxembourg arm, called Amazon EU Sarl, took in the £5.3bn of sales. However, as the British-based Amazon.co.uk Limited subsidiary recorded a profit of £34.4m, the resulting tax bill stood at £11.9m.
The accounts say that Amazon.co.uk Limited does not sell goods online to British shoppers – as Amazon EU Sarl does this instead. Amazon.co.uk Limited’s more modest turnover of £679m comes from providing “fulfilment and corporate support services” to the group’s arm in Luxembourg, which is a tax haven.
The company has been heavily criticised for its tax contributions to the UK.