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Amazon.com shuttering 3 U.S. distribution centers

E-commerce giant says it has offered to transfer 210 workers to other facilities

March 27, 2009 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Amazon.com Inc. is shutting down three of its U.S. distribution centers, as part of what a spokeswoman called its normal business process.

The move comes a year after the Seattle-based e-commerce giant added 3 million square feet in distribution center capacity, noted Patty Smith, a spokeswoman for Amazon.com. She did not give a time frame for shutting down the distribution centers in Red Rock, Nev., Chambersburg, Pa., and Munster, Ind.

"We regularly evaluate our fulfillment network," said Smith. "We think this will better able us to balance ... the right mix of products close to the customers."

The spokeswoman said that all the workers at the three locations have been offered jobs at other Amazon facilities across the country. She pointed out that there are two other distribution centers in Indiana that could house workers from the Munster offices.

"There are two things in play here," said Dan Olds, principal analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group Inc.

"The first is that even successful and profitable companies are constantly fine-tuning their operations, like adding and shutting down distribution centers. This is not necessarily a signal that their business is weak. Even solid companies are constantly adjusting and optimizing their operations," he said.

"Of course," Olds added, "it's probably also true that the current economy plays a role -- they are closely monitoring sales trends and won't hesitate to adjust their infrastructure to maintain profitability."

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