business news in context, analysis with attitude

• Here's an interesting tidbit from the Motley Fool ... Walmart has 2.3 million people working for the company, which has 11,723 stores worldwide. By comparison, Amazon currently has 351,000 employees. looked at from that perspective, "Amazon employees generate twice as much revenue as Walmart workers."

But, "i's important to note ... that Amazon's workers are becoming less efficient. The company's been on a hiring spree lately, with its employee count growing 43% year over year in the first quarter. That drastically outpaces its consolidated revenue growth of 23%.

"In fact, Amazon's employee count has increased more than 40% in five of the last six quarters. Sales growth hasn't topped 30% in that same period. One of the big reasons for the ramp in employment is that Amazon is undergoing significant investments to bring new fulfillment centers online. That requires a lot of overhead (including labor) upfront while it ramps up the usage of its new warehouses."

CNBC reports that Sears has opened a new 20,000 square foot small-store format in Pharr, Texas, which sells only Sears-brand appliances and national brand mattresses. The company says that these are two of its strongest categories, and it plans to open additional stores using the same format.

The news comes as Sears also is announcing the closure of yet another 20 stores, bringing to more than 260 the number of Sears and Kmart stores that it has said it will close this year.
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