Amazon to expand European warehouse count despite global cost-cutting measures

Despite ongoing efforts to cut costs globally, an Amazon executive has said that the company plans to open new warehouses and hire more staff across Europe.

Speaking at a Shoptalk conference in Barcelona via Reuters, Stefano Perego, vice president of global operations for North America and Europe, has said that Amazon’s footprint will increase from the 70-plus fulfilment centres it currently operates across the continent as part of a push towards automation and cutting delivery distances.

The executive declined to disclose how many warehouses are planned or where, but noted that the company has invested €142 billion in Europe since 2010 and that decision making is guided by customer demand.

Perego also weighed in on the hot-button topic of artificial intelligence (AI) at a time when technologists and regulators are growing increasingly uncomfortable with the technology. The Amazon representative however argued that AI is a force for good, and that the use of robots help make warehouses safer.

He said: "The ability to have a collaborative deployment of AI is really a key strategic element for us. I think it's transforming jobs, and it is giving better, upskilled types of jobs in warehouse and logistics."

The comments on expansion in Europe contrast with Amazon's ongoing strategies to cut tens of thousands of staff globally, including the shuttering of three warehouses and seven delivery stations in the UK which will impact more than 1,200 people.

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