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Amazon moving staff at Quidsi parenting products unit after losses

FILE PHOTO: Amazon boxes are seen stacked for delivery in the Manhattan borough of New York City, January 29, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

By Jeffrey Dastin

(Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) said on Wednesday it was moving staff out of its Quidsi nursery, beauty and pet products subsidiary after the business failed to turn a profit.

"We have worked extremely hard for the past seven years to get Quidsi to be profitable, and unfortunately we have not been able to do so," an Amazon spokeswoman said in a statement. "Quidsi has great brand expertise and they will continue to offer selection on Amazon.com; the software development team will focus on building technology for AmazonFresh."

The market appeared to welcome Amazon's attention to losses at the subsidiary, unusual for a company that has made investments in logistics and new businesses a priority over profit. Amazon stock briefly hitting a record high of $876.44 Wednesday afternoon.

The move underscored a shift in Amazon's focus to groceries and other areas since it closed its $500 million cash acquisition of Quidsi in 2011. The unit operates websites diapers.com and soap.com.

At that time, Amazon was fending off the young e-commerce company, popular among mothers, with its own Amazon "Mom" subscription that offered free shipping and other perks on baby items.

Amazon was keen to attract more customers to subscriptions of bulk items, which would spur additional purchases and allow Amazon to better adjust inventory.

Amazon is attempting to crack into the more than $600 billion market for groceries, mostly bought at stores by U.S. customers. On Tuesday it announced a test phase of AmazonFresh Pickup in which customers order online and drive to a store where their vehicle is loaded with groceries at a prescheduled time. The model is already in place at Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) and other retailers.

News of Amazon moving staff to AmazonFresh and winding down Quidsi was reported earlier by Bloomberg.


(Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)