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Amazon confirms it will close four fulfillment centers for retrofitting

 Decision made to shift inventory-holding needs. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)
Decision made to shift inventory-holding needs. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves), Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) will close fulfillment centers in four states to retrofit them for other purposes, a move that will displace thousands of employees, and could lead to their departure from Amazon, the company confirmed on April 23 in response to a report earlier that day that appeared on Yahoo.

According to the news report, the facilities to be closed are called “Amazon Robotics Quick Deploy,” which handle small items and use Kiva orange robots that move shelves of goods to human pickers. The centers, located in California, Illinois, New Jersey and Texas, will be re-designed for use as sorting centers, Amazon Fresh delivery hubs and print-on-demand book sites, according to the report. An Amazon spokesperson told Yahoo that it has determined that various facilities are now better suited to handle different types of inventory than they have in the past.

The company didn’t disclose how many centers would be closed or how many employees would be affected.

According to the Yahoo article, Amazon workers last week were offered the chance to relocate to nearby sites where they would work similar jobs and schedules. Workers could also seek opportunities at other U.S. locations or elsewhere within the company, but would have to secure a job by June 14 or they would be terminated, according to the report. At the time they were notified, the affected employees were given 10 days to choose between the two options. The deadline for their decision is unclear.

Separately, Amazon and retailer Kohl’s, Inc. (NYSE:KSS) said yesterday they will expand a program to all Kohl’s contiguous U.S. stores that will allow Amazon customers to bring returned goods to Kohl’s locations for processing and pick-up.

The expansion, which will take effect in July, will cover all of Kohl’s 1,150 stores in the lower 48 states. The program began as a pilot in 2017 and is now available at 100 Kohl’s stores in Chicago, Los Angeles and Milwaukee.

Under the program, Kohl’s accepts eligible Amazon items without a box or label, and returns them for free.


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Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.