A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 4:28 p.m.
AMAZON: Walmart’s $3 billion bet on discounter Jet may reinvigorate growth in its online shopping business, which has slowed in recent quarters even as Amazon’s overall sales have rocketed above $100 billion annually (CNN). Wall Street’s not holding its breath; Amazon’s stock rose a smidge and Walmart’s fell a bit by the time trading closed at 4 p.m. ET (Google Finance).
Earlier today, news emerged that Amazon’s office has been searched by Japan’s Fair Trade Commission over its dealings with merchants who sell goods through the retailer, a person with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg. The antitrust agency is looking into whether Amazon sought deals with sellers that gave it more favorable conditions over other e-commerce companies in one of its biggest foreign markets. It wasn’t immediately clear when the JFTC inquiry took place (Bloomberg).
The retailer’s shipping costs are skyrocketing, underscoring why it just unveiled its first branded Prime Air cargo plane. Amazon’s shipping expenses soared 43% vs. a year ago during the first half of the year. In 2013-2015, those costs were rising 29% to 32% annually. This year, it’s already on track to spend nearly $6 billion on shipping.
“Bottom line,” says ZD Net, “Amazon has no choice but to become more efficient than UPS and FedEx. If Amazon can use its own air fleet to even come close to its shipping vendors, it’ll potentially save billions of dollars simply by cutting out the middleman.”
Here’s a time-lapse video showing the new Prime Air Boeing 767 being readied for its debut this weekend at the annual Seafair air show in its corporate hometown of Seattle; more news coverage about Prime Air.
Amazon and UPS are both big employers in the Louisville area; UPS has 22,000 workers at its Louisville International Airport hub, and Amazon employs 6,000 at distribution centers in Jeffersonville and Shephardsville.
HUMANA could lose its Justice Department battle to win approval for the insurer’s proposed $37 billion merger with Aetna, but Louisville’s economy could wind up a winner — if the history of GE Appliances’ auction is a guide (WDRB).
In other news, the Baxter Avenue Theatres is adding powered reclining chairs and a full bar to the seven-screen Highlands complex at Mid-City Mall, an approximately $500,000 upgrade that will start in October (Insider Louisville).