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Amazon aims to steal Trader Joe’s trade secrets, former employees allege

A new Wall Street Journal report claims the online retail juggernaut hired Trader Joe’s manager to reveal insider knowledge about its most popular private-label products

The Wall Street Journal published a bombshell report on Amazon on Saturday, alleging that the online retail giant worked to steal trade secrets from the grocery chain Trader Joe’s.

The story investigates Amazon’s efforts to develop a private-label food brand, known as Wickedly Prime, which aimed to replicate Trader Joe’s top 200 products.

The Wall Street Journal disclosed that it bases its reporting on thousands of internal documents and interviews with more than 600 employees, but the story relies heavily on interviews with a former senior manager at Trader Joe’s, who had worked in the company’s snack-foods business and left for a position at Amazon.

The unnamed manager said Amazon management pressured her to share Trader Joe’s sales data and margins for each of its private-label products. 

Amazon owns Whole Foods Market, which claims 517 locations in the United States as of April 1, and Amazon Fresh, which has roughly 20 U.S. locations, according to

An Amazon spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment about the article, but did tell the Wall Street Journal that the company’s “culture centers on innovating for customers to make their lives better and easier.”

Some of Trader Joe’s proprietary data was collected by Amazon and distributed to employees, but once reported to the Amazon legal team by a whistleblower, “the handful of employees who had accessed the data were fired,” according to the report. 

“We do not condone the misuse of proprietary confidential information, and thoroughly investigate any reports of employees doing so and take action, which may include termination,” Amazon told the Wall Street Journal.

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