Amazon is going on a pre-Christmas hiring spree as it gears up for another bumper festive period

 
Billy Bambrough
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Amazon has been ramping up its operations in the UK and Europe over recent years (Source: Getty)

Amazon, the US online retailer that has been ruffling feathers with its aggressive expansion plans, is upping its UK staff head count by a further 1,000 this year.

It today announced plans to add 1,000 permanent jobs across the UK, on top of 2,500 permanent roles previously announced in January. The latest increase means it will have raised its staff numbers by almost 30 per cent in 2016.

The move will strike fear into the hearts of Amazon's UK competitors that are currently locked in a price war that has squeezed margins to breaking point. Amazon recently piled on the pressure by moving forward with its fresh grocery line in London.

The company has attracted criticism for its promotion of extensive sales events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the run up to the key Christmas trading period. Some UK retailers have opted out of such events, saying they prefer to put on sales in January.

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Amazon's rapid growth comes at a time of crisis for UK retailers, with the former high street stalwart BHS going into administration earlier this year.

For Christmas 2015 Amazon made $9.03bn (£6.31bn) from the UK, up $700m on the previous year. Though the rate of growth was slower than in 2014, when it added $1bn in UK sales to hit $8.34bn.

Amazon spent $3.8bn on advertising and promotional costs in the lead up to Christmas last year, an increase of $500m from $3.3bn in 2014.

Doug Gurr, Amazon UK country manager, said of the hirings:

We are creating thousands of new jobs to continue to deliver the experience our customers know and love during the festive season and beyond.

We are hiring for all types of roles from software engineers, computer programmers and corporate managers in our R&D centres and head office, to operations managers, engineers, service technicians, HR roles and order fulfilment roles in our fulfilment centres.

The jobs will support Amazon's same day delivery service Prime Now, which launched last year in London before expanding to other cities across the UK.

New recruits will also be assigned to the head office in London; research and development centres in Cambridge, Edinburgh and London; the customer service centre in Edinburgh; fulfilment centres and delivery stations across the UK; the Fashion Photography Studio in Shoreditch, and to run the Amazon Web Services (AWS) UK Region due to be in place by early 2017.

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This will bring the total number of full time permanent employees in the UK to more than 15,500 by the end of this year.

Britain is Amazon's third biggest market after the US and Germany and according to Amazon it has invested more than £4.6bn into the UK economy since 2010.

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