Tag Archives: Amazon
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc will close all of its U.S. pop-up stores and focus instead on opening more book stores, a company spokesperson said on Wednesday.
The company’s shares closed down 1.4 percent, while shares of bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc ended 8.9 percent lower.
Amazon’s 87 pop-up stores in the United States are expected to close by the end of April, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Wednesday, citing some of the employees at the stores.
The news underscores how the online retailer is still working out its brick-and-mortar strategy.
Pop-up stores for years helped Amazon showcase novel products like its voice-controlled Echo speakers, but the company is now able to market those products and more at its larger chain of Whole Foods stores, acquired in 2017, and cashierless Amazon Go stores, which opened to the public last year.
The online retail giant will also open more “4-star stores” – stores that sell items rated 4-stars or higher by Amazon customers, the spokesperson added.
“After much review, we came to the decision to discontinue our pop-up kiosk program, and are instead expanding Amazon Books and Amazon 4-star, where we provide a more comprehensive customer experience and broader selection.”
Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel
It’s not a plan really, not a hidden secret message. It’s more of an expression of emotion. Maybe a realization of necessity.
In fact, while the text Amazon posted on its blog on February 14 runs 363 words, the most important part of this crucial passage is just four words long. But those four words speak volumes.
It starts with a dig at “state and local politicians” in New York, and a statement about how many New Yorkers supposedly supported the deal. Then, we get to the crucial part:
We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion–we love New York, its incomparable dynamism, people, and culture–and particularly the community of Long Island City, where we have gotten to know so many optimistic, forward-leaning community leaders, small business owners, and residents.
There are currently over 5,000 Amazon employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, and we plan to continue growing these teams.
Those four crucial words? “We love New York.”
They’re not included by accident. In fact, I’ll bet this statement probably went through more writing, editing and rewriting than anything in Amazon’s history.
But the passage is crucial. It’s a recognition that even in a post-HQ2 world Amazon, still depends big time on New York. That’s why I think the company is at pains to reassure everyone that it isn’t going to try to just reopen the HQ2 search and do this elsewhere.
The brutal truth is: New York City is special.
I know people don’t like to admit this. I know that there are many trying to make political points, attacking union leaders and politicians who they say are to blame for Amazon running away.
But there is no other place truly like New York City, and Amazon isn’t really going to run — not completely. It’s not just chest-thumping; it comes down at least partly to sheer numbers. Here are three of them:
- By far, New York is the largest city in America, with 8.6 million people–almost as big as the second, third, and fourth largest cities combined.
- By far, it’s the largest metropolitan area: more than 20 million people. If it were its own state, it would be about as big as Florida — but much more densely packed.
- By far, it has the largest GDP of any metro area, at at $ 1.7 trillion. That’s nearly 9 percent of the entire country.
Was it ever possible that Amazon would direct a personal insult at the largest and most important market in the country, by jilting it for say, Nashville?
No offense to Nashville, the so-called runner-up. It’s a really great city too, but numbers don’t lie: it’s tiny compared to New York.
Remember, they just proved it at Amazon, too.
After staging a 14-month beauty contest, playing off more than 200 cities against each other, and keeping the terms secret so that none of them could know what they needed to do in order to win, the result was almost comically predictable:
Amazing n couldn’t do better than New York and an area right outside Washington, D.C.
You know what I think’s going to happen now? Amazon is going to redistribute those 25,000 jobs around a lot of different places. (Remember, it was only planning to create 700 jobs this year, and wouldn’t hit the full number until 2028 at least.)
Now, New York will still get the largest share, only without having to give an average of $ 120,000 per job in tax breaks to get them.
And, it will make up the rest and still more–because Amazon just did the legwork for every other company in America.
Especially if the state and city can come up with anything even approaching a small percentage of the deal they were willing to give Amazon, and offer it to a wide array of smaller employers, think things look pretty rosy.
No matter your size, and as long as you don’t try to squeeze completely one-sided terms out of the deal, if you want to attract amazing workers and expand in one of the greatest cities in the world, Amazon just proved where you should go.
Amazon loves New York. And a lot of other people do too.
Is there anyone who Amazon isn’t competing with?
In a recent regulatory filing, (amzn) Amazon added “transportation and logistics services” to the already long list of industries and services it views as competition. While Amazon relies on shipping partners, like USPS, UPS, and FedEx to help make deliveries, the disclosure signals that Amazon is getting serious about making its mark with its own delivery service.
“The worldwide marketplace in which we compete is evolving rapidly and intensely competitive, and we face a broad array of competitors from many different industry sectors around the world,” Amazon said in the annual filing.
Amazon’s shipping costs were $ 9 billion, according to its most recent earnings report. That’s a 23% increase from the previous quarter, but shows just how much customers value Amazon Prime’s free shipping options. Amazon has already taken some steps to build a delivery infrastructure to supplement its partners. The company leased a fleet of airplanes to carry cargo, has delivery vans, and has been piloting a “Shipping With Amazon” program, which entails drivers picking up packages from third party sellers and delivering them.
There has also long been speculation about whether Amazon, one of the world’s most valuable companies, might consider a surprise acquisition of a transportation and logistics competitor. UPS CEO David Abney said last month that while Amazon is a customer, he also sees the company as a competitor.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has always been fascinated with finding ways to revolutionize delivery. He shared his vision for drone delivery in 2013. Bezos predicted it would be a reality by the end of 2018, however the program has hit regulatory snags in the United States. Amazon made its first commercial drone delivery in Cambridge, England in December 2016. They’re also deploying delivery robots. Last month, Amazon unveiled its new Scout delivery robot, which is making test deliveries in a neighborhood in Snohomish County, Wash.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States Postal Service should have more flexibility to raise rates for packages, according to recommendations from a task force set up by President Donald Trump, a move that could hurt profits of Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and other large online retailers. The task force was announced in April to find ways to stem financial losses by the service, an independent agency within the federal government. Its creation followed criticism by Trump that the Postal Office provided too much service to Amazon for too little money.
FILE PHOTO – A view shows U.S. postal service mail boxes at a post office in Encinitas, California in this February 6, 2013, file photo. REUTERS/Mike Blake/Files
The Postal Service lost almost $ 4 billion in fiscal 2018, which ended on Sept. 30, even as package deliveries rose.
It has been losing money for more than a decade, the task force said, partially because the loss of revenue from letters, bills and other ordinary mail in an increasingly digital economy have not been offset by increased revenue from an explosion in deliveries from online shopping.
The president has repeatedly attacked Amazon for treating the Postal Service as its “delivery boy” by paying less than it should for deliveries and contributing to the service’s $ 65 billion loss since the global financial crisis of 2007 to 2009, without presenting evidence.
Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos also owns the Washington Post, a newspaper whose critical coverage of the president has repeatedly drawn Trump’s ire.
The rates the Postal Service charges Amazon and other bulk customers are not made public.
“None of our findings or recommendations relate to any one company,” a senior administration official said on Tuesday.
Amazon shares closed down 5.8 percent at $ 1,669.94, while eBay (EBAY.O) fell 3.1 percent to $ 29.26, amid a broad stock market selloff on Tuesday.
The Package Coalition, which includes Amazon and other online and catalog shippers, warned against any move to raise prices to deliver their packages.
“The Package Coalition is concerned that, by raising prices and depriving Americans of affordable delivery services, the Postal Task Force’s package delivery recommendations would harm consumers, large and small businesses, and especially rural communities,” the group said in an emailed statement.
Most of the recommendations made by the task force, including possible price hikes, can be implemented by the agency. Changes, such as to frequency of mail delivery, would require legislation.
The task force recommended that the Postal Service have the authority to charge market-based rates for anything that is not deemed an essential service, like delivery of prescription drugs.
BAD NEWS FOR AMAZON
“Although the USPS does have pricing flexibility within its package delivery segment, packages have not been priced with profitability in mind. The USPS should have the authority to charge market-based prices for both mail and package items that are not deemed ‘essential services,’” the task force said in its summary.
That would be bad news for Amazon and other online sellers that ship billions of packages a year to customers.
“If they go to market pricing, there will definitely be a negative impact on Amazon’s business,” said Marc Wulfraat, president of logistics consultancy MWPVL International Inc.
If prices jumped 10 percent, that would increase annual costs for Amazon by at least $ 1 billion, he said.
The task force also recommended that the Postal Service address rising labor costs.
The Postal Service should also restructure $ 43 billion in pre-funding payments that it owes the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund, the task force said.
Cowen & Co, in a May report, said the Postal Service and Amazon were “co-dependent,” but that Amazon went elsewhere for most packages that needed to arrive quickly.
Cowen estimated that the Postal Service delivered about 59 percent of Amazon’s U.S. packages in 2017, and package delivery could account for 50 percent of postal service revenue by 2023.
The American Postal Workers Union warned against any effort to cut services. “Recommendations would slow down service, reduce delivery days and privatize large portions of the public Postal Service. Most of the report’s recommendations, if implemented, would hurt business and individuals alike,” the union said in a statement.
Reporting by Diane Bartz and Jeffrey Dastin; editing by Bill Berkrot
Amazon is finally offering a simple way for its cloud services customers to lock down data stored at its Simple Storage Service (S3) with one fell swoop. This change should help companies in the Fortune 500 and mom-and-pops down the street avoid embarrassing breaches of data.
Customers of Amazon Web Services (AWS) routinely leave private files available for public consumption. That’s led to routine, sometimes costly situations for companies that find hackers or security researchers have retrieved customer information, databases containing user passwords, or even proprietary company secrets.
That includes the global consulting and management firm Accenture, which in October 2017 left four of its S3 storage areas, known as “buckets,” open to public examination and download. Over 137 gigabytes of data could have been retrieved, including 40,000 unencrypted passwords. Accenture’s cloud platform, hosted on Amazon’s services, include 92 of the Fortune Global 100 and three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500. A security researcher discovered the public data and informed Accenture.
In August 2018, a researcher discovered that a company that sells surveillance software it markets for parents, Spyfone, left an Amazon S3 bucket publicly available, and intimate and personal data extracted from thousands of people its customers were monitoring were exposed, according to Motherboard. This included several terabytes of camera photos.
Last November, Amazon released a change that gave system administrators better notification about any storage buckets set to public access, using an orange label in its file-browsing dashboard.
The change released on Nov. 16, however, allows top-down control for an entire storage area, including disabling overrides for individual folders or files within it. This will prevent companies from leaving data open for global snooping—if they’re attentive enough to know about the new feature and enable it.
The number of security breaches due to customer settings at Amazon S3 has been so high that articles at tech sites devote themselves to listing them all.
Notable breaches include Uber, which exposed personal data of about 57 million customers in October 2016, and didn’t disclose the matter [until November 2017](Dara Khosrowshahi), after it had hired a new CEO; Deep Root Analytics, which exposed personal data on 198 million American voters; and the WWE wrestling entertainment firm, which exposed personal details of 3 million of its fans.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When Democrats take control of the U.S. House they plan to investigate the Trump administration’s attempt to block AT&T Inc (T.N) from acquiring Time Warner, and whether officials sought to punish Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) by prodding the U.S. Post Office to hike shipping prices for the world’s largest e-commerce company, a senior Democrat and a congressional aide said on Sunday.
An AT&T logo is pictured in Pasadena, California, U.S., January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Speaking to online publication Axios, Representative Adam Schiff, who is expected to be the incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Democrats will review if Trump used the powers of the federal government to punish the companies.
Representative Elijah Cummings, the likely incoming chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said the committee “may want to look into” if the White House retaliated against Amazon and AT&T.
A House Oversight and Government Reform Committee aide said on Sunday that the committee has “already been investigating these matters, but the Trump Administration to date has not complied with our requests. We fully expect that to change now that we are in the majority.”
Cummings also said on ABC’s “This Week” that he intends to investigate if Trump killed plans to relocate the new headquarters of the FBI because moving it could harm his business interests in the Trump Hotel across the street.
Cummings in September asked the White House and the Trump Organization for documents about Trump’s “failure to accurately report debts and payments” to his personal attorney Michael Cohen “for silencing women who alleged extramarital affairs before the election.”
Another committee aide said on Sunday “the requested information was not provided because we were in the minority, and this should change now that we are in the majority.” Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight felony counts.
Since winning control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections last week, Democrats have vowed to launch investigations on a wide range of topics involving the Trump administration.
Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos privately owns the Washington Post, while Time Warner’s holdings include CNN. Trump has lambasted both outlets frequently for their critical coverage of him.
“It is very squarely within our responsibility to find out,” Schiff told Axios in an interview that will air Sunday on HBO.
Schiff said Trump “was secretly meeting with the postmaster (general) in an effort to browbeat the postmaster into raising postal rates on Amazon… This appears to be an effort by the president to use the instruments of state power to punish Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post,” Schiff said.
It is not clear what committees may probe the corporate issues, since Schiff’s Intelligence Committee would not have oversight. A Schiff spokesman declined further comment.
AT&T and Amazon.com both declined to comment on Sunday. The White House did not immediately comment.
Trump has repeatedly complained Amazon does not pay the U.S. Postal Service a fair rate for package delivery. Trump has said, without citing evidence, that this costs U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars, and he has threatened to raise the company’s postal rates.
Trump opposed the AT&T-Time Warner merger as a candidate and has repeatedly attacked CNN and last week a CNN reporter’s White House press pass was suspended.
The Justice Department is appealing a federal judge’s approval of the $ 85.4 billion AT&T acquisition of Time Warner.
With a split decision in last week’s congressional elections, Democrats plan a cautious approach. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Democrats will not conduct “any investigation for a political purpose, but to seek the truth.”
Cummings vowed a “methodical” approach in approaching investigations. “I’m not going to be handing out subpoenas like somebody’s handing out candy on Halloween,” Cummings said.
Reporting by David Shepardson and Sarah N. Lynch, Additional reporting by Ginger Gibson Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Sandra Maler
The summer of 2018 has been another tough period for Sears, but there’s one thing that has reliably helped lift the retailer’s share price: Amazon.
On Tuesday, Sears Holdings announced that it’s expanding a pilot program with Amazon to install and balance automobile tires that consumers buy through Amazon. Under the partnership, Amazon shoppers who buy tires, including the Die-Hard brand made by Sears, can ship the tires to a nearby Sears Auto Center for installation.
Amazon also offers similar ship-to-store programs with, for example, local bike shops. In May, when Sears announced it would service tires bought on Amazon, its shares shot up 38% during the following week.
Sears’ stock more than gave up those gains in June, however, after the company said sales fell 31% in its most-recent quarter and announced it would close 72 more stores. That was on top of hundreds of stores that Sears had closed in the previous couple of years. Last week, Sears said it would close yet another 46 stores, dragging its share price down even further to a record low of $ 1.08 a share.
News that Amazon and Sears were expanding the ship-to-store program from 47 initial stores to all Sears Auto Centers in the U.S. offered Sears a reprieve from the weeks of a declining share price. Sears shares surged as much as 23% to $ 1.37 a share Tuesday. While Sears’ stock price drifted down Wednesday, they were trading about 3% higher in afterhours trading at $ 1.26 a share.
Sears has been undergoing a long, painful restructuring for several years, with the stock now down 96% from its high point in 2013. Sears, K-Mart, and other onetime powerful retail brands have been struggling in the era of Amazon retailing. Amazon, meanwhile, has been working with brick-and-mortar retailers, including partnerships with Sears and Kohl’s and the purchase of Whole Foods Market.
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Online retail giant Amazon.com Inc, whose entry into Australia last year rattled established bricks-and-mortar retailers, posted a modest loss in its earliest days in the country, corporate filings show.
FILE PHOTO: Amazon boxes are seen stacked for delivery in the Manhattan borough of New York City,U.S., January 29, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
Amazon’s foray into Australia was met with fevered attention from investors and a steep selldown in traditional retail stocks.
The U.S. company launched its website on Dec. 5, though it ran preparatory operations through the year, racking up a modest loss of almost A$ 9 million ($ 6.6 million).
In the Christmas trading weeks from the launch to Dec. 31, it turned over A$ 6.3 million in direct sales versus total Australian retail sales of A$ 26.3 billion that month.
These figures, however, are unlikely to be indicative of the future performance of a company that reported losses and roller-coaster results for years, but is now the second-biggest company in the world and closely watched on Wall Street.
The Australian trading period was too short for meaningful analysis, said Evan Lucas, chief market strategist at fund manager InvestSmart.
“Amazon is not the kind of company that accepts failure – they have a longer term goal.”
Amazon hit logistical snafus in Australia’s vast interior and handed eBay Inc – market leader in Australia – some victory after a move last month to block Australians from shopping on its foreign websites drew customer backlash.
A spokesman for Amazon declined to comment on the filing and directed Reuters to previous commentary about record Australian sales during a promotion in July without quantifying them.
The filing was lodged in April but the results were not reported at the time. They were first reported on Friday by the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.
Last week, Amazon forecast strong fall sales for its overall operations and posted a $ 2.5 billion quarterly profit that was double Wall Street targets on the back of its younger businesses – cloud computing and advertising.
($ 1 = 1.3569 Australian dollars)
Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Sayantani Ghosh and Manolo Serapio Jr.
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian home entertainment installer Paul Boon has relied for years on Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) U.S. website for cheap wall racks and other parts to keep his costs down.
FILE PHOTO: A web page featuring Amazon’s Australian URL is pictured in this photo illustration April 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Reed/Illustration/File Photo
But Amazon’s recent move to stop Australians from shopping on its foreign websites, due to a new law that requires it to collect taxes, is turning away once-loyal customers like Boon.
He’s considering a switch to eBay Inc (EBAY.O), adding that prices for wall mounts were 40 percent higher on Amazon’s Australia site if they appeared there at all.
“I’ll be going somewhere else to get that regular stuff,” said Boon by telephone from the northern city of Brisbane, where he runs his business.
Amazon’s launch of an Australian site in December, followed by last month’s introduction of its Prime service for faster delivery, has been heralded as a game changer for the country’s retail industry. But it has gotten off to a choppy start.
For customers like Boon, the retail giant has lost years of goodwill by forcing shoppers onto a local site with a product range roughly one ninth of the U.S. site and which sells some goods at higher prices.
It has also given online marketplace eBay, Amazon’s bigger and more established rival in Australia, the opportunity to swoop in and capture that goodwill, building its first automatic tax collection and payment system and wooing local customers with discounts.
Australia is the first market where Amazon, the world’s second-most valuable company worth $ 890 billion, has responded to a sales tax on internet purchases by shutting out customers based on where they live.
An Amazon spokesman said in an email the company would continue to build its range of goods and services through its Australian site, and that it was “thrilled with the reception it has received from Australian customers” since introducing Amazon Prime.
The Australian government extended its 10 percent goods and services tax (GST) to all goods bought online from overseas, effective July 1, requiring online retailers to collect the tax. It was previously applicable only to overseas purchases over A$ 1,000 ($ 745).
Amazon also gave Australians just one month’s notice that they would be shut out of its global network – sales are cut off when an Australian delivery address is entered – even though the government’s plans were announced a year ago.
Critics say the decision was an excuse to drive traffic to its new local site and promote its Amazon Prime service.
“I’ve no doubt that Amazon will be successful here in time, but I don’t believe that this strategy is what’s going to catapult them to success,” said Ryan Murtagh, CEO of Neto, a provider of data and logistics support for about 3,000 online retailers in Australia.
“I think actually it potentially could damage them in the long term.”
Amazon has some 550 million products on its U.S. site including those sold by Amazon and third-party sellers, according to Boomerang Commerce, an artificial intelligence technology firm in California. That compares with the 500-600 million offers from third-party sellers on eBay, which includes duplicate products.
Ebay said the decision to build the new tax collection and payment system had paid off with early figures suggesting Australian shoppers were not swayed by the new tax.
“It was a big change and it was a global change that needed to be done,” said eBay’s local managing director, Tim MacKinnon, adding that the effort was led by its California headquarters.
“A lot of people worked on it, a lot of different teams. We’re really proud that we hit the July 1 deadline.”
He added its decision to offer Australian shoppers a 10 percent discount on its local, British and U.S. websites for the first week of July had helped generate business.
“All of our sites have accelerated,” said MacKinnon.
While neither Amazon nor eBay provide data on visitors to their sites and estimating their share of Australia’s A$ 26 billion-a-year online retail market is difficult, customer dissatisfaction with Amazon Australia is not hard to find. Its Facebook page is overrun with negative comments.
Amazon’s move has also prompted non-Amazon freight forwarders who buy items from the U.S. store domestically and mail them to Australia to seize new opportunities. One such firm, New York’s Big Apple Buddy, this week set up a new site for Australian shoppers.
Securities analysts argue, however, that Amazon plays a long game and that given its track record in dominating online retail in many countries, whatever missteps it makes can be fixed over time.
“It is highly likely they will get it right in Australia over the longer term, and prices will be competitive, service will be outstanding, and they will eat eBay’s lunch,” Michael Pachter, managing director of equity research at Los Angeles-based Wedbush Securities, said by email.
Reporting by Byron Kaye and Tom Westbrook; Additional reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco and Nicholas Ford in Sydney; Editing by Edwina Gibbs
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, it’s likely that you’ve had a shopping list ready for weeks. But if you’re just browsing today through July 18, we have a few Prime Day deals on weird or quirky items that you might not have even considered. From robots you can keep in your home to Japanese-style toilet seats, here are the strangest, coolest discounted items we’ve seen this Prime Day.
Jibo is kind of like an Alexa speaker… if Alexa had a body, face, and could dance. When we reviewed Jibo a year ago he brought us joy and creeped us out in almost equal order, but we kept him around. In the year since, he’s learned how to play a couple games, give you a daily report, play the radio, tell slightly better jokes, and communicate back and forth just a little.
He’s nowhere near perfect, but for $ 500, it’s a lot easier to give Jibo a try if you’d like to be one of the first homes with an actual robot. He’s the only product you’ll feel guilty about unplugging.
The Nuraphones are the strangest, and most interesting headphones you can buy, as we discovered when we reviewed them. They’re a hybrid between an earbud and over-ear design, and that’s because of their central feature: they use NASA-grade microphones to scan your ear and map out your hearing. Once the Nuraphones know how sensitive each of your ears is to each of a range of high and low frequencies, it makes a custom sound profile just for your ears.
It takes some time to get used to the probing feeling of earbuds inside headphones, but the sound speaks for itself. We also like that Nura just sent out a free firmware update to all users that adds active noise cancelling, more button functionality, and ambient noise pickup, so you can hear the outside world better, if you want.
Is your stay-at-home dog so over frozen dog food in Kongs? We loved the Furbo when we reviewed it. It’s clean, simple, easy to use, and you can also remotely toss Cheerios at your crawling infants in a pinch.
We tried the Walabot at CES 2018. It gives you X-ray vision when you’re remodeling your house, letting you spot studs, wires, or even moving rats (er, objects). Nota bene: It doesn’t work for iPhone users.
Homebrewing is a lot of fun, but unless you have a lot of friends, it’s hard to drink a full keg of beer every other week. The PicoBrew lets you fine-tune your recipes five liters at a time.
Do you want a fast and easy way to spruce up your bathroom routine? Toto’s washlet electronic bidet toilet seats are heated, and have customizable washing temperatures and pressure settings. Add your pick (out of many!) to your cart to see the discount.
More Prime Day Coverage
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