Mike Bloomberg: The RealReal, Rent The Runway — not just Amazon — hurting US retail

Bloomberg on how Amazon, Rent The Runway, The RealReal is changing retail

Presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg discusses Amazon and how the retail industry is changing with new companies like The RealReal and Rent The Runway during a Fox News Town Hall.

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg doesn’t blame e-commerce giant Amazon alone for damaging the country’s brick-and-mortar retail business.

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During a town hall on Fox News Monday, Bloomberg said the U.S. economy is “changing dramatically,” and it can’t be blamed entirely on Amazon alone.

“What I think it is, it’s The RealReal, where people resell their own clothing and it is Rent The Runway — I can just tell you in my company all the young women … they pay 85 bucks a month, they get five outfits, they wear them all week … they mail them back,” Bloomberg said. “That’s what’s hurting the retail business — Amazon is part of it, but not the only thing.”

Bloomberg added that people’s preferences and tastes are changing, and so is technology.

In a statement to FOX Business, a spokesperson for The RealReal said over 90 percent of its customers regularly shop the primary market.

"Where we do see resale impacting the primary market is with fast fashion – one-third of our customers say they shop The RealReal as a replacement for fast fashion," the spokesperson said. "These customers are turning to resale as it's inherently sustainable – it keeps items in circulation and out of landfills."

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The former three-term New York City mayor said he had read that Amazon paid low taxes – and he wasn’t sure why that was, though he explained it could be because it makes big investments and receives tax credits.

Amazon insists it pays everything it owes both at home and abroad.

Bloomberg refused to say he would go so far as putting a value added tax, which is levied on the production of goods or services produced by a business, on Amazon to make sure it pays its fair share.

While he said that Amazon should pay its taxes just like anybody else, he also said taxes should be raised on the wealthy, like himself, to fund things like infrastructure and education.

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On the other hand, Amazon has become a frequent punching bag among some of Bloomberg’s more progressive rivals – like Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Warren even has a proposal to break the company up, though both have targeted the e-commerce giant through proposed tax increases as a means to pay for various social programs.

Tuesday will be the first opportunity Americans have to cast their vote for Bloomberg, who did not participate in the early voting states. About one-third of all pledged delegates are on the line on Tuesday as voters in 14 states head to the polls.

And the Democratic field narrowed after Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced her withdrawal from the race on Monday and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttgieg did so on Sunday. Both are expected to support former Vice President Joe Biden.

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This story has been updated.

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