Coronavirus

Amazon the “clear winner” from the coronavirus pandemic

The online retailer has seen its share price soar as consumer demand rockets with people stuck at home under lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Amazon the “clear winner” from the coronavirus pandemic
JOEL SAGET AFP

Online retailer Amazon has seen a huge increase demand as shoppers are forced to stay at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the company being declared a “clear winner” by financial analysts. The share price has soared, climbing from $1,689 a month ago to $2,295 now.

While shops shut Amazon delivers

With bricks and mortar retailers forced to shut and furlough or lay off staff, Amazon has been on a hiring spree to try and fill demand from consumers trapped at home across the world.

Analysts expect Amazon to increase annual sales by some 20% to $335 billion this year.

The company has been hit by criticism for not doing enough to protect staff from coronavirus infection at its warehouses. The company fired two employees this week who had complained of allegedly unsafe conditions at some of its warehouses.

According to the Washington Post (owned by Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos) 75 Amazon warehouse and delivery workers in the US have been infected with the virus.

Bezos’ personal fortune now stands at $138 billion. He owns 11% of Amazon, which is currently valued at $1.14 trillion.

Bezos and Zuckerberg on Covid-19 call

Meanwhile, Bezos and social media site Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, took part in a White House conference call on Wednesday to discuss how to reopen the US economy in light of the coronavirus pandemic, according to representatives of the two companies.

The phone calls followed an announcement on Tuesday by President Donald Trump about the formation of advisory groups on how to open up the country, which include other top U.S. executives such as Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook and JPMorgan Chase & Co chief Jamie Dimon.

Some 94 percent of Americans have been under government stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The orders, including mandatory business closures, have battered the U.S. economy and left millions of Americans unemployed.

Trump looks to business for guidance

Trump has turned to Corporate America to help plot a course forward. He has often sought business leaders' assistance, as with a previously announced drive-through testing program with prominent retailers including Walmart Inc.

However, relations between the White House and Amazon - the world's largest online retailer - have at times appeared strained. Trump, for instance, has described the Bezos-owned Washington Post as Amazon’s “chief lobbyist.” The top editor of the newspaper, which has published articles critical of the president, has said Bezos has no involvement in its news coverage.