Finance

Amazon is providing early Christmas buying with the Fall Prime Day occasion

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Illustrative photo of an Amazon Prime Now delivery

(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc (O 🙂 began Tuesday with 48 hour promotions as part of Prime Day, a closely watched marketing event that the company had postponed due to operational challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The event, which usually takes place in July to boost summer sales, is now a prelude to an earlier holiday shopping season. The member-only discounts are a key way Amazon markets Prime, a fast shipping and media streaming service that encourages subscribers to shop more on Amazon.

Rivals Walmart Inc (N 🙂 and target Corp (N 🙂 is now holding promotions at the same time. Online sales can prove critical for retailers as the pandemic helps prevent the typical post-Thanksgiving store crowds in the United States.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Amazon focused on shipping essential items to buyers. The goal now is to help customers with their vacation lists on Prime Day, said Jamil Ghani, vice president of the company.

"The Christmas season begins," he told Reuters last month.

Amazon is bringing the event to Turkey and Brazil for the first time. In Latin America, Amazon has faced an uphill battle with local rivals.

A report from the news site Reveal said the week surrounding Prime Day last year was the most dangerous for injuries at Amazon's fulfillment centers, which drew criticism from a prominent union.

"Amazon's Prime Day means more injuries and unacceptable stress for the workforce," said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the retail, wholesale and department stores union, in a statement.

"In normal times, it is a busy time for workers. During a global pandemic, this can push workers beyond their limits," he said.

Amazon denied the claims, saying that employee performance expectations and injury rates were no higher during the holiday season.

"The safety of our employees is our top priority," said a statement.

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Steven Gregory