Amazon's online retail business is expected to launch in Australia next year, according to an executive briefed on the plan.
An international fund manager from Watermark Funds Management Justin Braitling told The Australian Financial Review he had been briefed on the expansion strategy by the person rolling out Amazon's Australian business, but declined to reveal their name.
"We spoke to the guy rolling out Amazon's business here in Australia and in his words, 'We are going to destroy the retail environment in Australia'," Braitling said.
Braitling said Amazon would launch its online store in September 2017 with "distribution and performance centres" in each state to handle goods from third parties. He also said that Amazon would open physical stores, mainly in regional areas.
"They will also be putting physical stores on the ground which I don't think anyone knows about. These will mainly be in regional areas because fulfilment is a lot harder in regional areas than in the cities," he said.
An Amazon spokesperson told CRN that Braitling's comments came from a former Amazon employee, who left after two years.
"The person who made this statement, Brittain Ladd, left Amazon in February after just two years. He was never involved in our planning for Australia and has no actual knowledge of our plans. His comments do not reflect our views. Our focus is on providing the best shopping experience we can for customers all over Australia."
Amazon originally planned to open in March, but pushed the date back so it could sell fresh produce on launch as well.
The internet giant was founded in 1994 as an online book retailer and has grown to become the largest retailer in the US. Amazon Web Services accounts for less than nine percent of Amazon's global revenue, but represents 56 percent of Amazon's total operating revenue.
The story has been updated to include the statement from Amazon's spokesperson.