Amazon launches online store in Australia

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Amazon launches online store in Australia

Local retailers brace for impact.

Amazon has ended months of speculation and officially launched its online retail offering in Australia.

The company today said it would offer products across 23 categories including books, computers, music, clothing, accessories, home improvement, consumer electronics, kitchen goods and baby products.

In the lead up to Christmas it is offering free delivery for "eligible" products over $49 and one-day delivery for "select areas".

Orders will be filled from Amazon's new fulfilment centre in Dandenong South in Melbourne. The company said it had more than 1000 employees across the country, which included staff for its AWS and Kindle brands.

Amazon has been tight-lipped about its Australian marketplace strategy - in which it allows other businesses to sell through its website - in the lead up to its launch.

It today said "thousands" of local businesses willl use the local platform to sell their products, but did not provide specifics. About half its global sales come from such marketplace sellers.

Its keenly anticipated entry into Australia's $300 billion retail market comes as traditional bricks and mortar retailers brace themselves for the impact of Amazon's arrival.

It will put pressure on local online operations like Kogan and eBay, as well as on traditional retailers like Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Myer and David Jones.

Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Rod Sims last week said the arrival of Amazon would be good for consumers, but less so for incumbent retailers.

He said Amazon had been successful because of its focus on customer experience, and was not anti-competitive just because of its size.

"Firms that offer consumers a better deal should be rewarded irrespective of their size,” Sims  said at the time.

“In competitive markets, there will be winners and losers.

“Some firms prosper while others go out of business. This is a harsh reality.”

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