As high street retailers batten down the hatches to endure the Coronavoris epidemic, one company that is expected to profit from disaster is online retailer Amazon.
With an already comfortable position in the market the coming weeks and months could see the e-commerce firm largely eat up the rest of the competition.
Carphone Warehouse announced today that it is to close all standalone stores resulting in 2,900 redundancies.
Many other retailers with physical outlets could follow suit as people stay at home to battle the growing epidemic.
Shift to online
But in stark contrast, Amazon yesterday announced it needs to hire 100,000 people across the US to keep up with a crush of orders as the coronavirus spreads and keeps more people at home, shopping online.
The online retailer said it would also temporarily raise pay by $2 an hour through the end of April for hourly employees.
That includes workers at its warehouses, delivery centres and Whole Foods grocery stores, all of whom make at least $15 (£11.50) an hour.
Employees in the UK and other European countries will receive a similar raise.
“We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labour needs are unprecedented for this time of year,” said Dave Clark, who oversees Amazon’s warehouse and delivery network.
Operations under pressure
Amazon said this weekend that a surge of orders was putting its operations under pressure, and warned shoppers it could take longer than the usual two days to receive packages.
It also said it was sold out of many household cleaning supplies and was working to get more in stock.
Last week, Amazon changed its time-off policy for hourly workers, telling them they could take as much time off as they wanted in March, although they would only be paid if they had earned time off.
Amazon also said it would pay hourly workers for up to two weeks if they contracted the virus or needed to be quarantined.
The Seattle-based company said the new job openings are for a mix of full-time and part-time positions and include delivery drivers and warehouse workers, who pack and ship orders to shoppers.
Amazon is already the second-largest US-based employer behind Walmart, with nearly 800,000 workers worldwide.
Related: Sainsbury’s chief: “If we shop just for food we and our families need, there will be enough”