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Amazon

Considered the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon.com was founded in Seattle by Jeff Bezos and went online in 1995.

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SEATTLE == Groupon is buying warehouse in an apparent effort to set itself up as a competitor against online retailers like Amazon.

The Wall Street Journal reports the company is putting together a network of warehouses to store its physical goods business. Groupon is expanding through the sale of merchandise, and relying less on its original business model of emailed daily coupons.

But unlike Amazon and Overstock.com, Groupon says it offers only a revolving selection of goods, similar to Costco or Sam’s Club, which offer few items but at lower prices.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Groupon’s revenue has tripled to $186 million from one year earlier.

For more on this Wall Street Journal story, click here.

Local News
08/21/13

More retailers challenging Amazon prices

amazon-warehouse-85

Photo courtesy amusingplanet.com

SEATTLE — A few retail rivals will be giving Amazon a run for its money.

A recent Wall Street Journal analysis found that at least one brick-and-mortar store, Bed Bath and Beyond, had prices about 6.5 percent lower on about 30 products that were also available at Amazon.com.

The newspaper found that one factor that’s helping Bed Bath and Beyond are the 20 percent off coupons it sends out to customers each month.

The Puget Sound Business Journal also reports that Overstock.com will now price all of its books the same as Amazon.

jeff bezos

By Andrea Chang, Los Angeles Times

In a surprise move, Amazon founder and Chief Executive Jeff Bezos has agreed to buy the Washington Post and other properties for $250 million.

The deal is being made by Bezos alone, without involvement from Seattle-based Amazon.

Donald Graham, chairman and CEO of Washington Post Co., said the board of directors decided to sell the company’s newspaper publishing business “only after years of familiar newspaper-industry challenges made us wonder if there might be another owner who would be better for the Post.”

“Everyone at the Post Co. and everyone in our family has always been proud of the Washington Post — of the newspaper we publish and of the people who write and produce it,” Graham said. “Jeff Bezos’ proven technology and business genius, his long-term approach and his personal decency make him a uniquely good new owner for the Post.”

It’s an unexpected move for Bezos, a self-made billionaire whose far-flung interests — among them unearthing old rocket engines from the bottom of the ocean and inventing a futuristic clock — haven’t seemed to include traditional print media.

In a statement, Bezos said: “I understand the critical role the Post plays in Washington, D.C., and our nation, and the Post’s values will not change. Our duty to readers will continue to be the heart of the Post, and I am very optimistic about the future.”

Bezos said Katharine Weymouth, CEO and publisher of the Post; Stephen P. Hills, president and general manager; Martin Baron, executive editor; and Fred Hiatt, editor of the editorial page would continue in their current roles.

“With Mr. Bezos as our owner, this is the beginning of an exciting new era,” Weymouth said.  “I am honored to continue as CEO and publisher. I have asked the entire senior management team at all of the businesses being sold to continue in their roles as well.”

The transaction covers the Washington Post and other publishing businesses, including the Express newspaper, the Gazette Newspapers, Southern Maryland Newspapers, Fairfax County Times, El Tiempo Latino and Greater Washington Publishing.

Slate magazine, TheRoot.com and Foreign Policy are not part of the transaction and will remain with Washington Post Co., as will the WaPo Labs and SocialCode businesses, the company’s interest in Classified Ventures and certain real estate assets, including the headquarters building in downtown Washington.

Washington Post Co., which also owns Kaplan, Post-Newsweek Stations and Cable ONE, will be changing its name in connection with the transaction; no new name has yet been announced.

The deal is expected to close later this year.

The Washington Post began publishing Thursday, Dec. 6, 1877, when the newspaper contained four pages and cost 3 cents a copy.

The Post is the third major news publication to be sold in as many days. Over the weekend, Red Sox owner John Henry bought the Boston Globe for $70 million. And Newsweek announced it had sold itself to digital news company IBT Media for an undisclosed amount.

In a letter to employees, Bezos reiterated that “the values of the Post do not need changing.”

“The paper’s duty will remain to its readers and not to the private interests of its owners,” he said. “We will continue to follow the truth wherever it leads, and we’ll work hard not to make mistakes. When we do, we will own up to them quickly and completely.”

As of March 31, the Post had an average total circulation of 474,767, making it the seventh-largest daily newspaper in the U.S., according to the Alliance for Audited Media. That was down 6.5% from a year earlier.

The deal was announced after the markets closed. In after-hours trading, shares jumped 4.4% to $593.95 as of 2 p.m. PDT. During regular trading, shares rose $8.75, or 1.6%, to $568.70.

amazon-warehouse-85

Photo courtesy amusingplanet.com

By Emily Jane Fox/New York (CNN Money) — Amazon has been touting its plan to hire 7,000 new works, and even President Obama is spoke at a company distribution center Tuesday on his jobs tour.

So how do Amazon’s new jobs really stack up?

The online retail giant announced Monday that 5,000 of those new jobs will be warehouse positions that pay 30% more than traditional retail store jobs.

On the face of it, the comparison is accurate. Dig a little deeper and there’s nothing special about Amazon’s (AMZN, Fortune 500) claim.

Elizabeth Brennan, a spokeswoman for Warehouse Workers United, a workers advocacy group, said pitting warehouse worker salaries against regular retail jobs is comparing apples against oranges.

The average U.S. warehouse worker, at Amazon or anywhere else, earns a third more than a retail worker. The median hourly wage of a warehouse worker is $13.50, or about 30% more than the average U.S. retail worker’s pay of $10.09, according to the Department of Labor.

Also read: The real budgets of McDonald’s workers

Amazon wouldn’t say how much it pays its workers. But according to data gathered by career website Glassdoor.com, Amazon pays its 20,000 warehouse workers an average hourly wage of about $12, which is below the national average.

Spokeswoman Mary Osako said Glassdoor’s numbers are closer to wages for entry-level workers.

She added that the figure also doesn’t represent the Amazon worker’s entire compensation. Its employees get full benefits and stock awards on top of their salaries. In the past five years, this has added an average of 9% to workers’ base pay annually, Osako said.

Amazon also offers to pre-pay up to 95% of tuition for courses for its workers, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon.

Amazon’s fiercest competitor, Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), said it pays its warehouse workers an average of $19 per hour, with benefits. This average includes entry level workers to managers.

What does all this add up to?

The average warehouse worker at Wal-Mart makes just under $40,000 annually, while at Amazon would take home about $24,300 a year. That’s less than $1,000 above the official federal poverty line for a family of four.

Related: Obama’s jobs record: Where are we now?

Using this data as a guide, both Amazon and Wal-Mart pay their warehouse workers more than smaller, independent distribution centers. According to a study conducted by University of Southern California professor Juan D. De Lara, the average warehouse worker in the region made $16,000 per year.

De Lara said many warehouse workers don’t work full-time, which is why he found their average annual income to be less than half of the $30,000 figure quoted by the Labor department.

– If you’re a warehouse worker and would like to be featured on CNNMoney, please share your story here. To top of page

WASHINGTON -– President Barack Obama will offer a new proposal Tuesday that would cut corporate taxes while investing in programs that could put more Americans in well paying, full-time jobs, the White House said.

The so-called “grand bargain” is being made in an attempt to break partisan gridlock currently plaguing attempts to pass deficit-reducing budget plans, though congressional Republicans signaled on Tuesday they were unlikely to back the plan, which the president will formally announce at an Amazon.com distribution center in Tennessee.

“Today what he is saying is that he would be willing to go forward with corporate tax reform if it is part of a larger package that includes critical investments in things like infrastructure, manufacturing and innovation hubs and community college training to help close existing and future skill gaps,” Gene Sperling, the director of the National Economic Council, told reporters on a conference call Tuesday.

obamaObama will suggest Congress cut corporate tax rates – long a goal of Republicans – while simultaneously making jobs investments, which Democrats and the president have been championing.

In the past, both Obama and Republicans have insisted that corporate tax reform be passed alongside reform for individual earners. Republicans argue that many small business owners file taxes as individuals, and would only benefit from an overhaul of the entire tax code.

The president’s plan would propose slashing the corporate tax rate to 28% from 35% while making the filing process simpler and ramping up incentives for small businesses to hire workers.

The plan would also put the tax rate on manufacturers at 25% and remove current tax incentives to send jobs overseas.

For more on this CNN story, click here.

amazonSEATTLE — Amazon announced plans Monday to hire 7,000 workers for its U.S. operation, with most jobs offering pay and benefits far above typical retail wages, the company said.

Amazon did not give specific pay scales for the positions, but said the 5,000 warehouse jobs will pay 30 percent more than jobs in traditional retail stores. The jobs are full-time permanent positions and also include stock grants that, over the last five years, have averaged 9 percent of pay for Amazon’s full-time workers. And the company said many workers would also be eligible for 95 percent tuition reimbursement to those attending college, whether or not their field of study is related to their job.

In addition, Amazon is looking for 2,000 workers for its customer service department, with those jobs being a mix of full-time, part-time and seasonal positions.

The 5,000 fulfillment center jobs represent a 25 percent increase in current staffing in that department. Amazon has been increasing its network of fulfillment centers and warehouses in order to offer quicker shipping to more of its customers. Many Amazon customers now have the option of next-day delivery and the company is looking to offer same-day delivery on some items.

Last week Amazon reported a surprise loss in its most recent quarter due to bigger investments in digital products than Wall Street had been expecting. But its revenue rose 22 percent compared to a year earlier.

Amazon’s growing sales have hurt sales for many brick-and-mortar retailers, including book retailer Barnes & Noble (BKS, Fortune 500), electronics retailer Best Buy (BBY,Fortune 500) and housewares retailer Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY, Fortune 500). Two years ago, book seller Borders went out of business, resulting in a loss of nearly 11,000 jobs at that time.

The fulfillment center jobs are located in Breinigsville, Pa., Middletown, Del., Chattanooga and Murfreesboro, Tenn., Charleston and Spartanburg, S.C., Patterson, San Bernadino and Tracy, Calif., Chester, Va., Coppell, Haslet and San Antonio, Texas, Hebron, Ky., Indianapolis and Jeffersonville, Ind. and Phoenix. The customer service jobs are in Grand Forks, N.D., Kennewick, Wash., Huntington, W.V., and Winchester, Ky.

According to its SEC filings, Amazon had about 88,400 full- and part-time employees companywide as of Dec. 31, up from only 17,000 workers five years earlier. Those figures are affected by seasonal workers brought on for the holiday period.

More information on the jobs is available at www.workatamazonfulfillment.com.

From CNN Money

Local News
07/24/13

400,000 Baby Einstein jumpers recalled

product 023BETHESDA, (Md.) — Hundreds of thousands of Baby Einstein jumpers are being recalled.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said it has received reports of 61 injuries involving the Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumpers. The CPSC says children have suffered bruises and cuts when the yellow sun attachment snapped backwards. A seven-month-old boy suffered a skull fracture, and an adult chipped a tooth.

Kids II, the manufacturer of the jumper, says the recall involves jumpers made before November 2011. They were sold at Target, Toys ‘R’ Us and other retailers and online at Amazon.com between May 2010 and May 2013.

Kids II advises parents to stop using the product immediately and contact the company for a free toy replacement. Parents can call 877-325-7056 or check the website kidsii.com for more information.

Local News
07/09/13

Amazon jumps into the comic book business

SEATTLE — Amazon is diving into the comic book business by opening a new division that will focus on comics and graphic novels.

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the new group will be called Jet City Comics.

They will publish issues on Kindle as standalone comics and bundled graphic novels, according to PSBJ.

Some of the authors who will create the comics include George R.R. Martin, the American author whose novels have been adapted into the hit HBO series, Game of Thrones.

The first comic to be released is “Symposium” No. 1

For more on this story, click here.

Local News
05/21/13

Amazon wants to go beyond the Biodome

SEATTLE — Amazon will present its latest renderings to the Seattle design review board — renderings that include proposed glass-and-steel biodomes on the online retailer’s South Lake Union campus.

 

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