Amazon Limits Independent Merchant Shipments to Essential Supplies

Independent merchants will be allowed to ship only medical supplies, household staples and other high-demand products to Amazon's warehouses.
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Amazon.com  (AMZN) - Get Report said Tuesday that independent merchants will be allowed to ship only medical supplies, household staples and other high-demand products to the online retailer’s warehouses until April 5, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Big brands with which Amazon deals directly will be subject to the same policy.

“We believe our role serving customers and the community during this time is a critical one, and we want to make sure our customers are getting essential items,” the company wrote on its blog.

“As Covid-19 has spread, we've recently seen an increase in people shopping online. So in the short term, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other important products coming into Amazon fulfillment centers so we can more quickly receive, restock, and ship these products to customers.”

Amazon is seeing increased business in recent days as brick-and-mortar stores close and consumers stay at home in response to the coronavirus.

Some third-party sellers complained to The Wall Street Journal that the Amazon edict could hurt their businesses and create product shortages.

The retailing powerhouse announced Monday that it woulf hire 100,000 full- and part-time workers in the U.S. to staff its fulfillment centers and delivery network.

The coronavirus has so far infected 5,243 people in the U.S., killing 94 of them, according to Worldometer.

At last check, Amazon shares traded at $1,798.14, up 6.45%. In the 12 months through Monday, the stock declined 4.2%, compared to a 12.1% drop for the S&P 500 index during the same period. 

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