Amazon set to shift empty warehouses

Amazon will reportedly sublet a number of unused warehouses across the UK as the company reckons with the fallout of its worst annual loss on record.

According to a report from the Daily Telegraph, the company which acquired significant amounts of warehouse space during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, will lease out locations that it has taken but not moved into.

One such reported location is a warehouse in Bracknell. The Bracknell location was being kitted out within the past six months according to LinkedIn posts from contractors, but the Telegraph report suggests it could be offloaded.

Amazon, which did not comment on the news, is currently undergoing a wider review of its UK operations. This has led to the shuttering of three warehouses – which employ a total of 1,200 staff whose jobs are now at risk – and the closure of seven delivery stations in England.

The ecommerce giant employed around 70,000 people in the UK at the end of 2022, following a 2021 in which it hired around 25,000 people. The company is in the process of cutting around 18,000 roles globally, with most of these being corporate-based jobs.

Amazon has also been scaling back its physical retail footprint, with the company admitting that its walk-in-walk-out Amazon Fresh stores are struggling to make a dent into the grocery market and shutting a number of locations. Amazon also closed down the dozens of Amazon 4-Star stores in the UK and US less than six months after they first opened.

Amazon last week reported its worst ever annual loss since going public, and has lost around 30 per cent of its value over the past year with investors bracing for a looming recession.

The company has also recently had to deal with its first ever strike action in the UK, with workers from its Coventry warehouse taking action over levels of pay.

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