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Amazon Will Postpone Prime Day Until at Least August

By Rich Smith – Apr 3, 2020 at 4:45PM

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The pandemic-prompted delay could cost the e-commerce giant $100 million to $300 million in revenue.

Some people describe it as "Black Friday in July" -- but this year, it won't happen before August.

According to internal meeting notes that Reuters says it obtained from Amazon (AMZN -0.64%), the world's biggest e-tailer has decided to postpone Amazon Prime Day until at least August as it waits for the COVID-19 pandemic to pass, and for its sales channels to unkink.  

Keyboard with a shopping cart icon on a button

Image source: Getty Images.

It's been five years since Amazon first made up Prime Day as a way to goose its sales during the slow month of July. So technically, the sales event could happen any time that Amazon wants it to. In fact, even before this, the company might not have been 100% certain about its planned schedule for the 2020 shopping extravaganza. "The company never publishes the date far in advance," notes Reuters.

But between shoppers' generally downbeat mood in the midst of a global pandemic, and the troubles Amazon has been having ensuring that medically essential equipment gets expeditiously delivered to hospitals and government agencies -- issues which have required it to slow its deliveries of other products -- the company has realized that a postponement will be required.  

The meeting notes that Reuters obtained also quoted Amazon General Counsel David Zapolsky musing that the company will "probably have to promote sooner, which will be difficult if we're capacity constrained." Given that looming need that it will have to discount its devices, Amazon may take as much as a $300 million hit due to the delay, though it views $100 million as a more likely figure.

Bad as that sounds though, it shouldn't be a disaster. Last year, Amazon moved $5 billion worth of merchandise on Prime Day, up 56% from 2018.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and recommends the following options: short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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