Amazon reportedly delays Prime Day sales event until September

Key Points
  • Amazon will postpone its annual Prime Day shopping event until September, according to The Wall Street Journal.
  • The company has struggled to manage a surge in online orders due to the coronavirus.
Billie Her, a warehouse associate, wraps plastic around a pallet of boxes at Amazon's Fulfillment Center in Thornton, Colorado.
Helen H. Richardson| The Denver Post | Getty Images

Amazon plans to delay its annual Prime Day event until September as its warehouses continue to manage a surge in orders due to the coronavirus, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The company decided this week it will delay the two-day summer event, which is typically held in July, according to the Journal. Prime Day, launched in 2015, is Amazon's marquee shopping event. It typically uses the discount celebration to secure new Prime members, as well as to promote its own products and services. 

Representatives from Amazon declined to comment on the report. Amazon's stock barely reacted to the news, with shares up about 0.5% Thursday morning.

Over the past few months, brands and sellers have been preparing for Amazon to delay this year's Prime Day. Reuters reported in April that Amazon would postpone the event until at least August and could take a $100 million hit from excess devices it may have to sell at a discount. 

Amazon has been rapidly working to meet an unexpected spike in online orders, as consumers were forced to remain indoors amid the pandemic and turned to the e-commerce site for essential items. Household items quickly ran out of stock, and Amazon was hit with a slew of delivery delays, causing the company to prioritize shipments of household and medical items at its warehouses. 

Since then, Amazon has shown signs that things may be returning to normal at its fulfillment centers. Delivery times improved, and it lifted restrictions on nonessential goods and restored some services to its website, such as coupons and deals. But supply still hasn't caught up to demand, and many household goods are still out of stock or showing delayed shipping times.

Amazon said it would invest its expected $4 billion second-quarter profit on coronavirus-related expenses, including "getting products to customers and keeping employees safe." But even with that spending, Amazon said it couldn't predict when one- and two-day shipping would resume, which would be a key for it to have a successful Prime Day event.

Read the full report in The Wall Street Journal. 

What it's like inside an Amazon warehouse during the Covid-19 pandemic
What it's like inside an Amazon warehouse during the Covid-19 pandemic