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While Amazon doubles down on Alexa, it’s laying off hundreds in other parts of its consumer business

The cuts mark a rare pullback for the tech goliath.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos onstage at a Vanity Fair event
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
Michael Kovac / Getty
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Turns out there are limits to Amazon’s growth.

The $668 billion technology goliath has laid off a few hundred employees at its Seattle headquarters as it recalibrates its staffing while hiring heavily inside fast-growing business units like Alexa and Amazon Web Services, its increasingly important cloud-computing service.

“As part of our annual planning process, we are making headcount adjustments across the company — small reductions in a couple of places and aggressive hiring in many others,” an Amazon spokesman said in a statement. “For affected employees, we work to find roles in the areas where we are hiring.”

The Seattle Times first reported the cuts.

The majority of the layoffs are taking place across the company’s core retail business, which still makes up the majority of the company’s sales but is not growing as fast as it once was.

While they make up a small fraction of the company’s 500,000-plus employee base across its corporate offices and warehouses, the cuts mark a rare pullback for the e-commerce giant as it reaches into new industries like media, grocery retail and logistics. And they come while the company looks to expand on its lead in new businesses like Alexa.

“Our 2017 projections for Alexa were very optimistic, and we far exceeded them,” CEO Jeff Bezos said in the company’s fourth-quarter earnings press release. “We don’t see positive surprises of this magnitude very often — expect us to double down.”

The company still has nearly 4,000 open positions at its corporate headquarters in Seattle, and 12,000 worldwide.

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