Amazon plans hundreds of lay-offs

Amazon.com's logo is seen at Amazon Japan's office building in Tokyo, Japan, August 8, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Amazon is cutting hundreds of positions at its headquarters and global operations, a move that comes after several years of significant growth.

The cuts were first reported by the Seattle Times, which said the actions are focused on streamlining the firm’s consumer retail business.

Amazon said it is working to offer affected staff new roles.

It said it expects “small reductions in a couple of places and aggressive hiring in many others”.

Amazon, which lists thousands of job openings on its website, has expanded rapidly in recent years, both through skyrocketing sales and acquisitions of companies such as grocer Whole Foods.

The company reported about $3bn (£2.2bn) in profit on nearly $178bn in sales last year.

Its fourth-quarter sales rose by 38% to hit a quarterly record of $60.5bn, while profits for the three-month period more than doubled to $1.9bn, compared with $749m in the last three months of 2016.

The figures were boosted by a tax benefit of about $789m related to the new US tax law.

Amazon counted more than 560,000 full and part-time workers worldwide at the end of December, an expansion of more than 65% from the previous year.

The firm’s website shows many of the new positions report to Amazon Web Services, the firm’s profitable cloud computing division.

The firm is also building up units focused on the company’s Alexa robot and other devices.

Previous consolidations at the company have led to lay-offs in some areas.

Last year, Amazon closed Diapers.com and other sites operated by Quidsi, which it announced a deal to acquire in 2010 for about $500m. That led to more than 260 lay-offs in New Jersey.

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