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April saw the continuation of the Covid-19 global health emergency. The coronavirus pandemic is infecting thousands of people and has shut down hundreds of thousands of brick and mortar businesses. For Amazon, sales have been booming. The Guardian newspaper in the UK has reported that Amazon’s Q1 sales have increased by 22% compared to last year. This works out to a whopping $10,000 made every second, day and night. 

Below we discuss the key moments for amazon in April:  

Amazon stops selling N95 and surgical masks to the public 

Amazon has stopped selling N95 respirators, paper surgical masks, face shields, surgical gowns and gloves, and large-volume containers of sanitizer to general consumers. The company will instead prioritize the sale of these products to hospitals and governments, which can sign up to make purchases through a new portal on Amazon’s business site. 

Amazon says it will waive the commission fee it typically takes from sellers “to encourage our selling partners to make additional inventory of these products available at competitive prices to these customers with the greatest need.” 

Amazon to delay Prime Day event due to coronavirus 

Amazon is planning to delay Prime Day until at least August due to the ongoing pandemicPrime Day is typically a huge sales driver for the company. Amazon said that Prime Day 2019 (which actually took place over two days, July 15th and July 16th) was “once again the largest shopping event in Amazon history,” surpassing sales of both Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 combined and that the company sold more than 175 million items during the event. 

Amazon is temporarily extending its return policy  

Merchants on Amazon will see the Amazon returns window extended to the 31st of May for all products sold between the 15th of February and the 30th of April. This will include products fulfilled by Amazon as well as those which merchants ship themselves. The reasoning is that many customers may be unable or unwilling to return unwanted items at the moment, due to the need to visit physical premises in order to do so 

Most items ordered through Amazon or seller partners in the U.S. and Canada between March 1, 2020, and April 30, 2020, can now be returned until May 31, 2020. Items ordered through Amazon or seller partners in Italy, Spain, France, Turkey, and the Netherlands between February 15, 2020, and April 30, 2020, can now be returned until May 31, 2020. 

Amazon restricted from selling non-essential items in France 

Amazon has closed its six French distribution centres, two days after a French court ruled it was not doing enough to protect workers from the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday a court in Nanterre, Paris, issued an emergency ruling requiring the company to stop selling non-essential goods for a month while it works out new safety measures. 

Sales of food, medicine and hygiene supplies are still allowed under the ruling. However, Amazon France said that given the “inherent complexity” of its activities, and the potential €1m (£870,000) fine for each violation of the ruling, the risk was too high and have decided to remain closed. Employees were told to stay home, and Amazon informed customers in France that their orders would be fulfilled by warehouses in Germany, Belgium and other European countries. 

Stay tuned for the Amazon recap.