Amazon reportedly plans summer sale for June 22 to lift sales hurt by coronavirus

Amazon has set a date for its  “Summer Sale” event that’s designed to provide a boost for sellers feeling the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and the delay of the company’s annual Prime Day event.
The company sent a notice to sellers early Tuesday informing them that it’s hosting a “Fashion Summer Sale Event” on June 22, according to a document viewed by CNBC. The notice says that participation in the promotional event is by “invitation only” and it’s expected to run anywhere from seven to 10 days long. 
“We are having the Biggest Summer Sale event to drive excitement and jump-start sales,” the notice states. “To drive customer engagement, we are asking for your participation.”
Amazon is still finalizing details around the event, which isn’t named, but has been given a working title of the “Biggest Sale in the Sky.” The company is in the process of finalizing the landing pages for the event and asked sellers to submit deals for items with a discount of at least 30% by the end of the day on Wednesday. 
It’s unclear what items will be discounted as part of the sale or whether it will be restricted to Prime subscribers. Representatives from Amazon didn’t respond to a request for comment. 
The event represents a shift in Amazon’s summer deals strategy. Amazon typically hosts its two-day summer sales event, Prime Day, in mid-July. However, recent reports have suggested that the company will postpone its marquee event until September as its warehouses continue to manage a surge in orders due to the coronavirus. 
The summer sale will likely help some retailers sell the extra inventory that’s accumulated in their warehouses over the past months. In March, shoppers flooded Amazon’s website with orders for essential items like paper towels and hand sanitizer, which forced it to prioritize shipments of household and medical goods until mid-May. 
Some sellers who offered goods outside of those categories felt like they were left in the lurch, while others were able to shift gears and ship items without Amazon’s help or by selling in-demand items like face masks.

Operations at Amazon’s warehouses have slowly returned to normal in recent weeks. Sellers are now eager to participate in the summer sale as well as Prime Day, with many of them viewing the discount events as an opportunity to make up for lost sales over the past few months.
Amazon plans to subsidize 10 days of child care for all its workers, a move to make returning to work easier as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Employees will be able to access child care at a center for $25 per day, or in-home care for a child or adult for $5 an hour, Amazon said in a blog post on Tuesday. The perk is meant as a backup option in cases where a worker's existing arrangements fall through.
"We've heard from our employees that access to affordable family care, for both children and adults, is particularly challenging during the COVID crisis and we are committed to supporting them in this unprecedented time," Beth Galetti, Amazon senior vice president of Human Resources, said in the post.
The policy runs through October 2 and applies to all permanent full- and part-time workers at Amazon and Whole Foods, the company said. It is unclear if temporary workers and those hired through contracting agencies are eligible. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.
Workers have criticized Amazon — the third-most valuable U.S. company as gauged by investors — for being stingy with pay and benefits at a time its business is seeing unprecedented demand from Americans stuck at home.

In early March, as COVID-19 spread across the U.S., Amazon raised workers' hourly pay by $2 an hour and offered double pay for overtime. The company ended both policies at the end of March despite worker requests to extend them. Amazon also ended its policy of unlimited unpaid leave, which many warehouse workers had used to stay home with children after schools were shut down. 

Since the start of the pandemic, Amazon has hired 170,000 workers, with about 125,000 of them expected to stay on permanently.
The new child care policy is in line with Amazon's competitors. Best Buy offers 10 days of backup child care a year, while Target reportedly offers 20.

Experts say the lack of child care for many workers could impede efforts to reopen the U.S. economy. Child care centers and schools closed early in the pandemic and remain shut, while some school districts are considering whether to continue distance-learning indefinitely.
Increasingly, stories also are emerging of women leaving jobs to take care of their children. A technology company founder profiled by the Washington Post dissolved her company so she could take care of her 3-year-old son, while another woman quit her part-time job to rely on her husband's income.
"For a lot of families, and a lot of women workers in particular, if the daycares are closed, schools are closed, summer camps are off — those women will not be able to reenter the workforce," C. Nicole Mason, president of the Institute for Women's Policy Research, told Face the Nation last week.
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