Amazon.com to Cut 1,300 Jobs, Many in Georgia

The Florida Times Union, January 31, 2001 | Go to article overview

Amazon.com to Cut 1,300 Jobs, Many in Georgia


SEATTLE -- Online retailer Amazon.com Inc. said yesterday it plans to cut 1,300 jobs, or 15 percent of its workforce, with about one-third of the reductions to be in Georgia.

The news came as the Seattle-based company posted fourth-quarter losses that were slightly lower than what analysts were expecting.

In a statement, Amazon said it was closing a distribution center in McDonough, Ga., and a customer service center in Seattle, in an effort to contain costs. It also said the company's distribution center in Seattle would be operated seasonally.

The 800,000-square-foot McDonough distribution center employed 450 people, bulking up to 1,000 during the holiday season, said Bob White, executive director of the Henry County Development Authority, which helped negotiate the June 1999 deal that brought Amazon to suburban Atlanta.

Workers, who will be offered job placement services, were told of the closing yesterday.

"You hate to see these kinds of things happen, but you always try to look on the positive side of things," White said. "We feel very confident that those workers will be absorbed into the local economy."

In slashing jobs, Amazon joins a number of other companies -- both online-focused and bricks-and-mortar -- who are streamlining their operations in the face of a slowing U.S. economy.

The resulting job cuts will cause Amazon, which employs about 85,000 worldwide, to take a charge in excess of $150 million this year.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, Amazon lost $545 million, or $1.53 per share, compared with $323.3 million, or 96 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Excluding one-time items and goodwill, Amazon lost $90.4 million, or 25 cents per share for the quarter, compared with $184.

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