Amazon to expand real-world store presence

A picture shows the Amazon logo at the entrance area of the Amazon logistics centre in Lauwin-Planque, northern France, on March 4, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 07 March 2019
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Amazon to expand real-world store presence

  • The announcement confirms Amazon’s goal to strengthen its real-world presence with more, larger physical outlets
  • In early 2018, the group also opened its first “Amazon Go” store in Seattle — a grocery outlet without a checkout

SAN FRANCISCO: Amazon on Wednesday unveiled plans to open more bookstores and “4-star” shops selling only the best-rated products — while closing its smaller “pop-up” kiosks in the US.
“After much review, we came to the decision to discontinue our pop-up kiosk program, and are instead expanding Amazon Books and Amazon 4-star,” a spokeswoman told AFP. “We look forward to opening additional locations of both stores this year.”
According to CNBC, the 87 pop-up stores in the US will close next month. Launched in 2014, the stands — located in shopping centers or in other stores, such as Amazon-owned Whole Foods — offered the company’s services and electronics.
The announcement confirms Amazon’s goal to strengthen its real-world presence with more, larger physical outlets.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the firm, owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, plans to open a supermarket chain separate from Whole Foods — with the first expected in Los Angeles at the end of this year.
The firm opened its first “4-star” shop in New York in September, with stock made up solely of products given a four and five-star rating on its website.
In early 2018, the group also opened its first “Amazon Go” store in Seattle — a grocery outlet without a checkout, where purchases are recorded by cameras and sensors.


Moody’s upgrades Egypt’s rating to B2, expects more economic growth

Updated 18 April 2019
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Moody’s upgrades Egypt’s rating to B2, expects more economic growth

  • Moody’s believes Egypt’s large domestic funding base would support its resilience to refinancing shocks
  • The ratings agency expects energy price hikes as part of Egypt’s fuel subsidy reform

CAIRO: Rating agency Moody’s has upgraded Egypt’s sovereign rating, saying ongoing economic reforms will help improve its fiscal position and boost economic growth.
Moody’s upgraded the long-term foreign and local currency issuer ratings of Egypt to B2 from B3. The outlook was changed to stable from positive.
The decision was based on “Moody’s expectation that ongoing fiscal and economic reforms will support a gradual but steady improvement in Egypt’s fiscal metrics and raise real GDP growth,” the agency said in a statement late on Wednesday.
Moody’s also said it believed Egypt’s large domestic funding base would support its resilience to refinancing shocks despite the government’s very high borrowing needs and interest costs.
Moody’s said it expected a steady improvement of Egypt’s fiscal position, “albeit from very weak levels.”
Maintained primary budget surpluses combined with strong nominal GDP growth would help reduce the general government debt/GDP ratio to below 80 percent by the 2021 fiscal year from 92.6 percent in the 2018 fiscal year, it said.
Egypt’s fiscal year runs from July to June.
Moody’s also said it expected energy price hikes as part of Egypt’s fuel subsidy reform, which it believed would be completed in the 2019 fiscal year. This, along with the fiscal reforms implemented in the last few years, would allow the government to maintain the primary budget balance in surplus in the next few years, Moody’s said.
The upgraded rating was expected, but still good news for Egypt, said Allen Sandeep, head of research at Naeem Brokerage.
“It should help its case for new international bond issuances as we move forward,” he said.
Egypt is pushing ahead with tough economic reforms as part of a three-year $12 billion IMF loan deal signed in 2016.
The reforms, aimed at attracting investors who fled during the 2011 uprising, have included new taxes, deep cuts to energy subsidies and a currency devaluation. The reforms have helped the economy recover, but have also put the budgets of tens of millions of Egyptians under strain.