Birkenstock pulls products from Amazon

Footwear firm Birkenstock has stopped supplying Amazon in the US, claiming the online retailer is not doing enough to halt sales of counterfeits.

The German company - famous for its sandals - says it also intends to prevent any third-party retailers selling its product via the site, according to a report on the CNBC news network.

The e-commerce giant has been under fire from brand-owners over counterfeit product listings for some time but this is believed to be the first time that a high-profile brand has taken this sort of wide-ranging action.

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) withdrew some of its products from the site in 2013 after discovering substandard copies for sale, but eventually resumed supplies.

"The Amazon marketplace, which operates as an 'open market,' creates an environment where we experience unacceptable business practices which we believe jeopardize our brand," said Birkenstock USA chief executive David Kahan in a memo to retailers.

"Policing this activity internally and in partnership with has proven impossible," he added, claiming that Amazon will only engage fully with brands on this issue if they agree to sell their entire catalogue through the site.

The announcement ties in with an increasingly hard line being taken by brand owners which are increasingly frustrated by what they see as lip-service to the problem of counterfeits, with little effective action to back it up.

Chinese online retailer Alibaba has been under particular scrutiny of late, but Birkenstock's action is a shot across the bows of Western e-commerce companies.

In a statement, Amazon said it "does not allow the sale of inauthentic items on its marketplace and occurrences of inauthentic products are rare."

"Every customer who orders on Amazon is covered by our A-Z guarantee and if they do receive inauthentic goods, we will refund or replace that item," it added.

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