Skip to main content

Amazon Prime Now to merge with AmazonFresh, resulting in layoffs


News of layoffs generally indicates a floundering business, which made reports early this week about job cuts at Amazon all the more confusing. After all, the retail giant is doing anything but struggling, what with its Whole Foods acquisition, new delivery business, and the search for its second headquarters. But now, we’ve learned more about the reasoning behind the layoffs, and it appears to be an effort to consolidate Amazon Prime Now and AmazonFresh. In merging these two units, the company hopes to “eventually streamline a delivery experience for Whole Foods Market,” Yahoo Finance reported.

The layoffs were initially brought to light in a piece by the Seattle Times, and will affect “several hundred employees” at the Seattle headquarters, as well as “hundreds more elsewhere” across Amazon’s global offices. The news was especially surprising given how lean Amazon already runs its operations, and considering the amount of revenue the company brings in on an annual basis. That said, Amazon has indeed rapidly hired across its Seattle office, growing its employee base by 800 percent — in 2010, just 5,000 people worked at its headquarters. Today, that number stands at over 40,000 people.

In a statement to the Times, Amazon noted, “As part of our annual planning process, we are making head count adjustments across the company — small reductions in a couple of places and aggressive hiring in many others. For affected employees, we work to find roles in the areas where we are hiring.”

Some of those roles might be in the new combined Amazon Prime Now and AmazonFresh department. The merger of the two units is expected to be completed by the end of 2018, and marries two of the company’s most popular offerings. Prime Now allows Prime members to get deliveries in just two hours, while AmazonFresh is the company’s grocery delivery service. But more and more (and understandably so), customers are looking to get their fresh produce delivered as fast as possible, which means that there’s quite a bit of overlap between the two services.

The decision to merge the two units doesn’t really come as a surprise. Last December, Recode reported that Stephenie Landry, the vice president and head of Amazon Prime Now, would also be leading Amazon Fresh. Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky has noted that various departments within the company could be joining forces. “Over time, you’ll see more cooperation and more working together between AmazonFresh, Prime Now, and Whole Foods as we explore different ways to serve the customer,” he said on an earnings call last October. Now, that cooperation is coming to fruition.

Editors' Recommendations

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
Amazon eying October for another Prime shopping event, reports say
best amazon tech deals 5 25 2017 online tablet shopping

This year’s Prime Day sale starts on July 12, though new reports suggest Amazon is also planning another Prime shopping event for later in the year.

The e-commerce giant has been telling sellers about a “Prime Fall Deal Event,” according to reports from CNBC and Business Insider.

Read more
Amazon Prime Video renews Reacher for a second season
Alan Ritchson stares intently at something in Reacher.

Reacher season 1 premiered three days ago on Amazon Prime Video, but that's all the time that was needed to earn it a renewal. Earlier today, Prime Video confirmed that Reacher season 2 is officially going forward with the further adventures of Jack Reacher. The series is based upon Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels, which were previously adapted on the big screen with Tom Cruise as Reacher. For Prime Video's series, former Titans star Alan Ritchson has stepped into the role of Jack Reacher.

"Partnering with Amazon Studios for season 1 of Reacher was a total delight – they had our backs every step of the way, and it really shows, in every line and every frame," said Child in a statement. "So I'm thrilled we'll be working together again, for season 2. This is very exciting news, and I can't wait to get started. Reacher couldn't be in better hands."

Read more
You’re about to pay more for Amazon Prime
Amazon worker packaging products.

Amazon announced in its quarterly earnings call today that the cost of Amazon Prime is going to increase for the first time since 2018. Starting February 18, 2022, for new sign-ups — and effective after March 25, 2022, for current members when their next renewal comes around — the monthly fee for the Prime will increase by $2 to $15. Yearly memberships will increase $20 to $139.

"Amazon also continues to invest heavily in Prime," the company said in its earnings release. "In the last few years, Amazon has added more product selection available with fast, free, unlimited Prime shipping; more exclusive deals and discounts; and more high-quality digital entertainment, including TV, movies, music, and books."

Read more