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Amazon CEO Andy Jassy struggled in his first year leading the company

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Yahoo Finance tech editor Dan Howley reviews Andy Jassy's first year as Amazon CEO, online retail trends, and the deals expected from this year's extended Amazon Prime Day.

Video Transcript

RACHELLE AKUFFO: Well, Andy Jassy took over as Amazon's CEO a year ago, but it's been a year plagued with challenges. And the stock has fallen almost 40%. Well, to dive deeper into what Jassy has to celebrate and commiserate on, Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley joins us now. Quite a year it's been, Dan.

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, it absolutely has. July 5-- today-- obviously, is the anniversary of Andy Jassy taking over as CEO of Amazon, just the second CEO of Amazon since Jeff Bezos stepped down and became chairman, and as Rick said, wearing wonderful bathing suits. What we see from Jassy from the past year has really been kind of a continuous struggle, though.

He had to deal with the massive expansion that Amazon underwent as the pandemic took hold and people turned to the company to get the basic goods that they need delivered to their homes when they simply couldn't go to stores, or they were sold out of stores. I'm sure you all remember when clean goods and toilet paper were just not on store shelves, so you had to resort to going to Amazon to get those. The company went through an incredible expansion at that point, building out its warehouse infrastructure, as well as hiring hundreds of thousands of people in an incredibly short amount of time.

So they had to do that. In addition to that, now, we're starting to see people go back to brick and mortar stores. So all of that expansion has kind of come back to bite them, because it just didn't hold up, as people decided, well, I kind of want to go back to a regular store, or I want to be able to at least get out of the house after those two years. And so we're starting to see Amazon freeze hiring, go ahead and freeze some of its expansion efforts in terms of its physical presence in warehouses, trying to lease out some of its space in warehouses, closing some brick and mortar operations that it had opened.

And then, oh, yeah, they're dealing with that increased unionization drive we saw, obviously, in New York and Bessemer, Alabama, although the Bessemer, Alabama plant didn't move forward. The Staten Island one did. But there are continued conversations about the potential for more unionization at Amazon warehouses, especially since that kind of initial thrust from Bessemer, and then the Staten Island plant, really seemed to almost fortify a larger unionization effort across the board that we're seeing at other companies. But in addition to that, there's that larger antitrust issue. So, you know, Andy Jassy has not had an easy time in his first year as CEO at Amazon.

DAVE BRIGGS: No, really just digging out of a huge hole. Add that all up, you've got shares down a third. So we've got Amazon Prime Day next week, the first of two. What can we expect? And how important is it for the company?

DAN HOWLEY: Prime Day is usually a big to-do for Amazon. They sometimes in the past have had major musical guests, you know, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, and the like. But it doesn't seem to be getting that kind of huge treatment this year as far as ads go. So you can expect, obviously, Amazon goods to be on sale, the made by Amazon or Amazon Basics products. Those will certainly be less expensive than normal or cheaper than normal.

You know, it's hard to tell how much of a real savings you'll get on third party goods, just because those companies are also dealing with inflation at this point. And so they're going to have to kind of say, look, we have to ship this stuff. We have to make sure that it gets out. We're dealing with increased prices. You know, how can we pass on those savings, or any savings, to consumers when we're dealing with this on our end? So it's really hard to tell how good the savings will be. But, you know, obviously, I'm going to be looking, as I'm sure everyone else will be, when it does kick off on the 14th and 15th.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: My cart is already full. I just have to hit Buy as soon as it hits. A big thank you there to Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley.