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Report: Job cuts at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters

BY CSA Staff

Amazon is reportedly cutting “hundreds” of staffers at its headquarters as it looks to focus head count on its fastest-growing businesses.

According to GeekWire, the cuts will mostly impact the online giant’s retail business and come as the company seeks to shift head count in businesses that are growing, such as Alexa, digital entertainment and its cloud services division (AWS).

“As part of our annual planning process, we are making head count adjustments across the company — small reductions in a couple of places and aggressive hiring in many others,” Amazon said in a statement to GeekWire. “For affected employees, we work to find roles in the areas where we are hiring.”

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Report: Online giant is eyeing Brazilian warehouse

BY CSA Staff

Amazon is ready to step up its push into Latin America’s biggest retail market.

The online giant looking to lease a 50,000-square-meter warehouse (which equates to more than 530,000 sq. ft.) just outside Sao Paulo, Brazil. The move will give it an even bigger foothold in the country, according to Reuters.

The report said the logistics investment would be four times the size of its current book-shipping operation in the country. It also indicates that the online retailer may be preparing to handle the distribution of electronics and other goods sold on its Brazilian website.

Amazon added electronics to its Brazilian merchandise assortment in October, the report said.

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L.L. Bean reverses a 106-year-old policy

BY Marianne Wilson

A small but growing number of customers are responsible for a big change in one of L.L. Bean’s signature policies.

The outdoor goods and apparel retailer has scrapped its legendary unlimited returns policy whereby customers were allowed to return merchandise years after the purchase if they were not satisfied with the goods — with no questions asked and no proof of purchase.

Under the new policy, merchandise may be returned within one year of purchase for a refund or exchange. After a year, the retailer said it will “consider any items for return that are defective due to materials or craftsmanship.” Proof purchase is required for refunds and exchanges.

L.L. Bean shared the news about the updated policy in a letter posted on its Facebook page. The retailer cited growing misuse of unlimited returns by some customers as the reason for the shift.

“Increasingly, a small but growing number of customers has been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original intent,” executive chairman Shawn O. Gorman wrote in the letter. “Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years. Others seek refunds for products that have been purchased through third parties, such as at yard sales. Based on these experiences, we have updated our policy. Customers will have one year after purchasing an item to return it, accompanied by proof of purchase. After one year, we will work with our customers to reach a fair solution if a product is defective in any way.”

In a meeting with the Portland Press Herald, L.L. Bean executives showed photos of items that had recently been brought in for return, One was a pair of old shoes that were falling apart from what appeared years of regular use. The customer’s reason for returning the shoes was “displeased with quality.” They also showed a photo of a ski jacket with no visible damage apart from a large stain. The jacket had youth-price ski lift tickets with purchase dates spanning three years attached to it. Although the customer stated that the jacket’s quality was “unsatisfactory,” the L.L. Bean executives figure the child likely outgrew the garment.

According to the report, L.L. Bean’s computer systems contain transaction records going back four years, so a receipt isn’t always necessary for a return.

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