Amazon.com. Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) said Thursday it will open a 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Forney, Texas, about 20 miles east of Dallas on the fringe of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
The center, set to launch sometime next year, will handle big and bulky items such as patio furniture, outdoor equipment and rugs, according to the Seattle-based e-tailer. These so-called large-format items typically require special handling because they cannot be processed on traditional conveyor systems.
In a related development, Amazon will open a 200,000-square-foot delivery station in Forney later this year. Packages are transported from Amazon fulfillment and sortation centers and loaded onto vehicles at delivery centers for the trip to the end customer. About a week ago, Amazon announced that it would develop a similar structure in the Tampa Bay, Florida, area.
Amazon’s regional air hub is located at Alliance Airport in nearby Fort Worth. The company did not respond to a query as to how the hub would integrate with the Forney complex. Brittain Ladd, an e-commerce consultant and a former top Amazon executive, said the Forney complex will support Alliance as well as Amazon’s satellite DCs and delivery stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The Forney fulfillment center will create 500 full-time jobs, while the delivery station will add 100 full- and part-time positions, Amazon said.
Thursday’s announcement continues a busy stretch of news involving the world’s largest e-tailer. Two days ago, the city of Detroit announced that Amazon plans to occupy a yet-to-be-built 3.8 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Detroit on the site of the abandoned Michigan state fairgrounds. Earlier in the week, it was reported that Amazon was in talks with shopping mall landlord giant Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG) to transform some of Simon’s department store properties into fulfillment centers by assuming anchor tenant spaces once held by major but now bankrupt retailers like J.C. Penney and Sears.
The latter development could end up being the most significant as it would potentially open up enormous tracts of ready-made space for Amazon facilities. Amazon executives said the company needs to expand physical capacity by at least 50% by the upcoming peak season. Amazon expects a historic peak period as the holiday shopping frenzy converges with an added surge in online ordering due to the coronavirus pandemic.
David Simon, Simon’s CEO, has made no secret of his interest in repurposing department store space at his malls. It is expected that many more mall-based department store locations will become available as the shift to online ordering, coupled with the economic fallout from the pandemic, forces struggling traditional retailers to either scale back or close their brick-and-mortar locations.
Retailer Stein Mart was the latest victim, saying Wednesday it filed for bankruptcy protection and would close most if not all of its 300 stores.