Amazon to Expand Shipments of Nonessential Items

From The Wall Street Journal:

Amazon.com Inc. will begin allowing third-party sellers on its platform to resume shipping so-called nonessential items this week, a signal that the company is ramping up to meet broader consumer needs, according to people familiar with the matter.

Last month, Amazon made a decision to prioritize at its warehouses those items deemed essential during the coronavirus outbreak, such as cleaning products, health-care items and shelf-stable food. Amazon stopped accepting shipments of items from sellers that didn’t correspond to the shopping needs of consumers hunkering down during the pandemic. The mandate caused unrest for its army of third-party sellers, which account for 58% of Amazon’s sales.

Sellers of items unrelated to health, wellness and cleaning will be able to send inventory to Amazon later this week, but there are limits on how much they can ship to ensure there is warehouse space for essential goods, people familiar with the matter said.

. . . .

The tech giant has been inundated by orders as Americans follow shelter-in-place guidance to stop the spread of the coronavirus. As a result, its network of warehouses has struggled to keep up, and delivery of orders in its Prime program that previously happened in one day or less has slipped to as long as a month in some cities.

On Monday, Amazon announced that it was hiring an additional 75,000 employees to help fill the mounting demand. Over the past month, the online retailer has hired more than 100,000 people in full- and part-time jobs in distribution centers and across its delivery network in the U.S.

The hiring spree represents almost two-fifths of Amazon’s typical U.S. workforce of 500,000.

A spokeswoman said the recent hiring is akin to what happens during the holiday period when Amazon adds thousands of temporary workers.

. . . .

Walmart, which is hiring about 5,000 workers a day, has added about 100,000 positions of a previously announced plan to hire 150,000, according to the company.

Kroger Co.,  the nation’s biggest supermarket chain, has hired more than 23,500 workers and plans to bring on an additional 20,000 people over the next several weeks. Instacart Inc. is looking to add 300,000 shoppers for its grocery-delivery service.

Having additional hires in the warehouses has helped Amazon ease back into handling nonessential merchandise, said one of the people familiar with the matter. The company’s hiring frenzy has made it one of the most-active employers during a time when many other companies are laying off their staff.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal


PG thinks it’s great that some employers are hiring.

Most of the people laid off from a Barnes & Noble bookstore will receive a major salary boost to $15 per hour (plus excellent fringe benefits) if they go to work at an Amazon warehouse.