business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Amazon has announced the dates for its annual Prime Day event -  July 11 at 3 a.m. EDT through July 12, a period during which "Prime members get exclusive access to Amazon’s lowest prices so far this year on select products from a variety of brands … New deals will drop every 30 minutes during select periods throughout the event, with deep discounts on top products from the hottest brands."

The challenge to Amazon is making sure that it outperforms itself on Prime Day, because if it doesn't the analysts will suggest that the end is nigh.  The problem with recent Prime Days is that they've tended to feel repetitive, and not as special as originally intended.

•  From GeekWire:

"Amazon closed another of its Amazon Go convenience stores in downtown Seattle, three months after it announced that eight of the high-tech physical retail locations were closing across the US … The 1,450-square-foot store opened in August 2018. It was the second Go location to open after the first such store debuted at the base of Amazon’s Day One office tower several months earlier that year."

“We’ve closed our 5th and Marion Seattle Amazon Go location, and are working closely with employees to find new opportunities within Amazon, including at other nearby stores,” Amazon spokesperson Jessica Martin said in an emailed statement to GeekWire. “We continue operating more than 20 Amazon Go stores across the U.S., and look forward to opening more in the future.”

The story notes that "Amazon did not provide a specific reason for the closing, and the spokesperson said no other stores are impacted at this time. There are four remaining Amazon Go stores within Seattle, as well as two additional stores in Mill Creek and Puyallup, Wash.

"In March, the company confirmed the closing of eight Go stores, including two in Seattle, and said at the time that like any physical retailer, it would periodically assess its portfolio of stores and 'make optimization decisions along the way'."

The closure has to be kept in context - it may have as much to do with conditions in Seattle as with Amazon's own "optimization" efforts.  But it is hard to ignore the reality that when it comes to physical retail, Amazon still hasn't figured out what it wants to be when it grows up.

•  From Bloomberg:

"From books to cloud computing, Inc. has gone on to dominate many segments over the years. Now Morgan Stanley projects that the e-commerce giant will become the biggest player in another space: beauty.

Amazon is set to overtake Walmart Inc. as the biggest US beauty retailer by 2025, analysts led by Simeon Gutman wrote in a research note. Amazon will make up about 14.5% of a market that could hit $180 billion in value by 2025, followed by the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer at about 13%. 

"While grocery retailers still hold a leading share of about 29% of the US beauty market, their portion has shrunk over time with specialist retailers like Ulta Beauty Inc. and Sephora among the biggest beneficiaries. 

"Amazon’s gains are set to come as the company continues to grow its share in the e-commerce market, set to account for 46.5% of it by 2025, Gutman wrote in the note."