Amazon closing 219-worker Kennesaw fabric warehouse

Amazon is closing its 219-worker Kennesaw warehouse, part of its decision in October to close, according to a company spokeswoman.

Amazon, which in the past 12 months had revenues of about $500 billion, made no public announcement of the closure, but filed a notice earlier this month with the Georgia Department of Labor, as required by law when a company is closing large facilities or laying off large numbers of workers.

The cuts will be made in four waves starting two days after Christmas, according to the filing, which was signed by Tonya Hallett, vice president of people experience and technology solutions.

The final closure is slated for April 1, according to Hallett’s letter.

“As part of our regular business planning, we continually evaluate the progress and potential of our offerings and have made the decision to close,” said Amazon’s Betsy Harden. “We are focused on supporting our employees through this transition.”

Workers have been offered other positions within the company, according to spokeswoman Betsy Harden, who declined to offer any more information about where those positions might be.

Affected employees will be given severance pay, she said.

Amazon has about 1.6 million employees worldwide, and the layoffs come as many economists forecast a recession in the next year, the result of higher interest rates crimping the spending of companies and consumers. They also follow announcements of job cuts in a number of technology-centric businesses.

Amazon, which expanded rapidly during the first two years of pandemic as suddenly constrained consumers poured spending into goods rather than in-person services, has also been coping with a shift back toward pre-pandemic patterns.

Kennesaw-based was originally the website of Phoenix Textile Group, a wholesale distributor of apparel fabrics, one of a number of sites snapped up by Amazon as it surged to dominance in online purchases.

Amazon acquired in 2008, and for many fabric companies, it was the industry’s largest buyer, according to the Craft Industry Alliance, which tracks the sector.

However, “the labor costs involved in cutting fabrics were too high for Amazon’s current business model,” according to an industry executive quoted by Craft Industry Alliance.

Another executive quoted said there were also problems in the company’s operations.

“They expect us to cut and ship overnight for free,” the executive said. “They don’t understand fabric at all.”