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Amazon expands in the UK, opens more stores and adds skills

March 11, 2016 01:50 PM
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Amazon.com Inc. will soon have a dozen fulfillment centers in the United Kingdom and has announced plans on how it will build out its physical store network in the United States. These are Amazon’s latest moves for the two weeks ended March 11.

UK expansion: Amazon is building out its 11th and 12th fulfillment centers in the United Kingdom. One is in Manchester, the other in Coalville, in the East Midlands region. Amazon added Prime Now delivery to the Manchester area in December. Both centers are scheduled to open this fall.

Amazon also is expanding grocery services in the United Kingdom, striking a wholesale deal with supermarket chain Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc to sell several hundred of that company’s private-label groceries on Amazon. The products include fresh, refrigerated and frozen foods. Previously, Amazon only offered shelf-stable groceries in the U.K., a program that just rolled out in November.

Alexa’s got skills: Fresh off the rollout of two Alexa-powered Echo devices, new voice-activated functions—skills as the Alexa software calls them—are going live. Capital One bank says customers can check their credit card balance, make payments and review recent transactions by asking Alexa-based devices for that information. The spectrum of Alexa-enabled devices has expanded to include Echo, Echo Tap, Echo Dot and Fire TV.

Amazon outage: Some consumers shopping Amazon.com the afternoon of March 10 were unable to complete their orders and viewed error messages. See what the outage may have cost Amazon in sales here.

Opening doors: Amazon’s presence in the physical world is growing. It will open its second Amazon Books store this summer, at the University Towne Center Mall in San Diego. Amazon opened its first bookstore in Seattle in November. Get an inside look at that store here.

The e-retailer also in recent weeks announced it will open staffed stores where consumers can pick up their Amazon orders on or near several more college campuses. Those locations will be at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta, the University of Akron in Ohio and the University of Texas at Austin. Amazon began operating pickup stores around college campuses in February 2015, when it launched at Purdue University in Indiana.

Air hauler: Rumored for several months already, Amazon and Air Transport Services Group publicly confirmed their arrangement this week. Amazon Fulfillment Services Inc. is leasing 20 Boeing 767 jets to supplement its existing delivery network. Get the full story here.

Live TV: Amazon has invested money and energy into its fashion and apparel business and its original video content business. Now it is combing the two, this week launching its first live daily programming. The 30-minute TV show about fashion, “Style Code Live,” includes products available for purchase on Amazon, and viewers can interact with the show’s hosts via live chat.

 

 

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