Amazon: the changing face of retail
Online retailer Amazon has tripled its global workforce in the last three years. It is now by some estimates the biggest 'tech' firm in the world in terms of employment with over 100,000 workers. Recent European expansion cases will bring over 6,000 new permanent jobs in coming years to 'fulfilment centres' (distribution warehouses) in the Czech Republic and Poland.
The company’s European expansion has not been without problems, however, with questions over the quality of jobs provided at the American company. Negative coverage of work practices in the UK and industrial disputes in Germany over pay and collective agreement coverage has put a question mark over the company’s image as a good employer.
The rapid expansion of Amazon has also been a challenge to the traditional retail sector in Europe with recent closures of HMV, Comet and Media-Saturn attributable at least in part to price competition from the American giant. In the long-term it remains to be seen whether Amazon’s massive gamble on their dominance of future retail online is successful. In the short-term, more high-street shops are likely to disappear.
Updated 21 January 2014