Amazon’s UK sales revealed by committee

AMAZON made £3.351bn in revenues in the UK last year, private letters published by the government’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) revealed yesterday.

Information shared by the web retailer with the committee, intended to be confidential, revealed a 23 per cent rise in sales on Amazon.co.uk last year. The UK’s website, which channels revenue to Amazon’s European headquarters in Luxembourg, made £2.4bn in 2010 and £1.9bn the year before that.

The public release of the figures is against Amazon’s wishes. Andrew Cecil, Amazon Europe’s director of public policy, was grilled by PAC members earlier this month over the company’s tax arrangements. He was criticised when unable to answer questions about certain aspects of Amazon’s business, but promised to share the figures on “a confidential basis”.

The news came as Amazon revealed it was issuing debt for the first time since 1999, in a bid to continue an enormous investment drive that has hit profits in recent months.

The $3bn bond sale, which is being handled by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, is believed to have attracted a good level of demand.