Ama­zon says Aus­tralia launch im­mi­nent

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

AMA­ZON.COM Inc is “really close” to open­ing in Aus­tralia, its coun­try man­ager said on Mon­day, as the U.S. e-com­merce jug­ger­naut pre­pares to shake up an al­ready-frag­ile brick-and­mor­tar re­tail sec­tor in the world’s No. 12 econ­omy.

While Ama­zon did not give an ex­act start date, the re­marks from Rocco Brae­u­niger sug­gest the com­pany will ship goods from its first Aus­tralian ware­house in time for the end-of-year hol­i­day sea­son, a mo­ment seen by an­a­lysts as a tip­ping point for Aus­tralia’s staid re­tail­ers.

“Let me tell you we are get­ting really, really close,” a jeans-wear­ing Brae­u­niger told about 600 prospec­tive prod­uct mer­chants at an open day on the Syd­ney water­front, held to en­cour­age mer­chants to sell on its web­site.

Since con­firm­ing plans to open in Aus­tralia in April, Ama­zon has signed up “many thou­sands” of sell­ers, added Brae­u­niger, who re­lo­cated from his na­tive Ger­many for the role in Au­gust.

Aus­tralians can al­ready buy Ama­zon prod­ucts from off­shore, but hav­ing a ware­house lo­cally cuts some­times siz­able in­ter­na­tional ship­ping costs, adding to pres­sure on re­tail­ers al­ready strug­gling with the over­heads that come from main­tain­ing shopfronts and em­ploy­ing check­out staff.

Ear­lier this month, Aus­tralia’s top depart­ment store chain Myer Hold­ings Ltd cut its growth tar­gets, cit­ing weak trad­ing con­di­tions, while ri­val David Jones re­cently con­trib­uted to the first profit de­cline in eight years for its owner, South Africa’s Wool­worths Hold­ings.

In a sign of fur­ther head­winds for off­line re­tail, Brae­u­niger said his $540 bil­lion com­pany planned to bring more ser­vices to Aus­tralia, from the out­set, than it had pre­vi­ously flagged.

While Ama­zon said ear­lier that it would of­fer Aus­tralia its “mar­ket­place” ser­vice, where re­tail­ers hire Ama­zon’s in­fra­struc­ture but run their own sales, Brae­u­niger said the com­pany would also run its own re­tail unit, or­der­ing and ship­ping its own prod­uct.

He sug­gested Ama­zon would wait, how­ever, be­fore tak­ing on Aus­tralia’s gro­cery mar­ket. The firm took years to of­fer the ser­vice in other coun­tries and “it’s really, really com­pli­cated to make fresh food de­liv­ery a great cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence”.

Ama­zon, among the lat­est tech heavy­weights to ex­pand in Aus­tralia, has snapped up a sprawl­ing nine-floor of­fice in Syd­ney’s fi­nan­cial hub, with sweep­ing views of the Har­bour Bridge and Hyde Park.

In Au­gust, it said it had picked a dis­tri­bu­tion ware­house in Aus­tralia’s sec­ond-largest city Mel­bourne, also on the east coast where about four­fifths of the coun­try’s 24 mil­lion peo­ple live.

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