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Amazon vows to drop dud lines

Bezos said it needs to 'Get the Crap Out'

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Amazon.com will trim back its inventory of unprofitable lines in an attempt to turn around its financial fortunes, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ has obtained a copy of a company wide email, charmingly entitled: "Get the Crap Out", sent out by chief executive Jeff Bezos, where he addressed the reasons why the etailer has decided to lay off 15 per cent of its staff.

Bezos doesn't pull any punches: he says Amazon will "ferociously manage the products we carry so that we sell only products that are profitable. The thirty-pound box of nails isn't long for our world."

Amazon has diversified from retailing books to selling a wide range of consumer goods such as tools, lip-balm, cars, and nails - although the largest pack of nails we could find weighed only six pounds.

It makes sense to can some heavier items, which are so expensive to ship to customers (we're surprised Amazon.com choose to offer them in the first place), but the etailer is staying quiet about what other products will be dropped, and when they'll go.

We assume the sex toys and soft porn art books are still doing the business, though.

In his memo, Bezos outlines plans to build up Amazon's core book business, and to begin selling electronic goods to Europe and Japan later this year through its main site. There were also hints in the email to the introduction of some form of loyalty scheme.

Separately, the company sent an email to customer-service workers saying that some laid off workers need not agree to a clause promising not to criticise the firm to the press or others, in order to receive a more generous severance package.

However the change of heart applies only to customer service and warehouse workers, and does not apply to staff at Amazon's corporate headquarters who might also be facing redundancy. ®

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