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Amazon pushes Prime Day to September as it returns to pre-pandemic levels

Amazon is postponing Prime Day until September as the company attempts to return to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels of operation.

The e-commerce giant generally holds the two-day shopping event in July to promote its prime service but will now hold off until the Fall, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The company is taking steps to return its delivery service to the speedy levels maintained before the coronavirus shutdowns took hold but warn that it may take months.

This week, it allowed its warehouses to again accept unlimited shipments of non-essential goods, the WSJ reported. 

Amazon warehouses will once again accept ‘unlimited’ delivery on shipments of non-essential items. It had been forced to accept only essential goods such as cleaning products during the coronavirus pandemic because of the massive surge in online demand. Pictured a worker gathers items for delivery at Amazon’s distribution center in Phoenix, Arizona

Despite Amazon's steps to bring its operations back to a pre-pandemic level, the company is postponing its two-day shopping event Prime Day until September as it works to catch up on the massive uptick in demand caused by more people having to stay at home and shop online

Despite Amazon’s steps to bring its operations back to a pre-pandemic level, the company is postponing its two-day shopping event Prime Day until September as it works to catch up on the massive uptick in demand caused by more people having to stay at home and shop online

Amazon had been forced to cut back on deliveries of non-essential items during the coronavirus pandemic because of the massive demand for more essential items such as cleaning products.

It struggled to meet the unprecedented demand as online shopping spiked because of store closures and its operations and shipping speeds were greatly affected.

In March, Amazon prioritized the shipping of essential items to its warehouses and stopped shipments on other products.

Even then, household items quickly ran out of stock and supply still hasn’t caught up with demand.

Last week, Amazon warehouses were told they could accept shipments of non-essential products again but with certain caps on how much inventory could be sent.

The company is now said to be creating room for more inventory, however, and has expanded once more to unlimited shipment deliveries.

‘We removed quantity limits on products our suppliers can send to our fulfillment centers,’ an Amazon spokeswoman confirmed to WSJ.

‘We continue to adhere to extensive health and safety measures to protect our associates as they pick, pack and ship products to customers, and are improving delivery speeds across our store,’ she added.

While the online retail giant is returning its warehouse shipments to normal levels, it may be months more until deliveries to customers can reach pre-pandemic speeds.

Launched in 2015, Prime Day is Amazon's marquee shopping event used to entice customers to its Prime service. The postponement could cost the company up to $100 million hit

Launched in 2015, Prime Day is Amazon’s marquee shopping event used to entice customers to its Prime service. The postponement could cost the company up to $100 million hit

Prime one-day delivery has yet to be reinstated for many products, but a company spokesperson said that more will return next week.

According to data from Rakuten Intelligence, the company’s shipping speeds began to improve again in April after a massive slowdown in March.

The average delivery time has been reduced from more than six days in late March to three days by April 13. 

Despite the upsurge in products being ordered online, Amazon made losses in the first quarter due to costs in new hires, hazard pay for workers and shipping costs.

The company missed its targets and its net income fell by 29 percent from a year earlier.

On Thursday, Amazon shares closed down 2.05 percent as the news of the Prime Day postponement was revealed.   

Amazon shares closed down by 2.05 percent on Thursday as news of the Prime Day postponement was announced. The company missed its first quarter targets despite the upsurge of online shopping and its net income fell by 29 percent from a year earlier

Amazon shares closed down by 2.05 percent on Thursday as news of the Prime Day postponement was announced. The company missed its first quarter targets despite the upsurge of online shopping and its net income fell by 29 percent from a year earlier

Other companies benefited from the increase in online shopping, however. 

A years-long campaign by Walmart and Target to challenge Amazon online was, as it turns out, a dry run for the pandemic.

Target had already transformed its 1,800 stores into distribution hubs, putting it in a better position than even Amazon to keep supplies flowing.

Target’s stores were directly involved in supplying goods for 80 percent of online sales. 

Same-day services, such as curbside pickup at stores for things ordered online, nearly tripled.  

Walmart had a 4 percent increase in earnings in the last quarter after a 74 percent increase in online shopping.

The chain also managed to cut costs compared to Amazon with curbside pick-up, a relatively inexpensive form of delivery compared to shipping products to customers.

Amazon is taking steps to return its delivery service to pre-coronavirus shutdown levels but warn that it may take months. Pictured, an Amazon employee prepares an order

Amazon is taking steps to return its delivery service to pre-coronavirus shutdown levels but warn that it may take months. Pictured, an Amazon employee prepares an order 

Amazon has not commented on the Prime Day report from the Wall Street Journal.

Launched in 2015, it is Amazon’s marquee shopping event used to entice customers to its Prime service. 

Its postponement had been long expected.

In April, Reuters had reported that the event would be postponed until August and that the company could take a $100 million hit from the excess devices it may have to sell at a discount.

The decision to delay it means Amazon will have about 5 million extra devices it would have expected to sell sooner, items like its suite of voice-controlled Echo speakers that have been popular orders during the event.

It also affects third-party merchants who have come to depend on Amazon’s platform for revenue.

Amazon’s delivery service has also been affected by employee absenteeism. 

Staff at its warehouses were among those to stage strikes because of health and dsafety concerns during the pandemic. 

Amazon has not revealed how many warehouse employees have died from coronavirus in the United States, but there have been at least seven deaths across the country.

Two were in California, with deaths also in Illinois, New York and Indiana.

The total number of employee infections have also been withheld, prompting Amazon workers to keep an unofficial count of nationwide cases.

It has also sparked a series of protests among staffers who have demanded Amazon implement better safety measures to fight the coronavirus.

Jana Jumpp, an Amazon worker from Indiana who has kept tally of coronavirus cases, said at least 900 employees have contracted the virus. At least 10 had died, she said.

Pressure to reveal the full scope of the coronavirus’s impact on Amazon workers has ratcheted up in recent weeks.

Amazon began providing face masks to employees on April 4 and required all staffers to wear then on April 10.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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