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Amazon Australian Launch Yields Mixed Response

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Australia managed to make it through 2017 with no Amazon service — until today.

Following months of speculation that Amazon would soon be going Down Under, the e-commerce giant today launched Amazon.com.au. The retailer now ships products such as electronics, clothes and footwear throughout Australia, in some cases offering more competitive prices than physical stores — a trend that has bolstered its popularity in the U.S.

As Amazon previously did not have a warehouse in Australia, the e-giant enters the country nearly two decades after it launched in Seattle. As part of its launch strategy, the Australian branch will focus on highlighting local vendors and offer free shipping on orders of more than 50 Australian dollars.

“By concentrating on providing a great shopping experience and by constantly innovating on behalf of customers, we hope to earn the trust and the custom of Australian shoppers in the years to come,” Amazon Australia country manager Rocco Braeuniger said in a statement.

Mirroring concerns of many in the U.S., some Australians worried that Amazon’s rise to prominence would sink physical stores. But by the end of Tuesday, local newspapers reported that some Australians found that the prices on the new site were at times even a little higher than in stores — in particular, when it comes to premium electronics and brand-name shoes.

That said, Amazon’s foray into Australia still did not go unnoticed in its economy — stocks of the country’s chief department store Myer Holdings have dropped more than 30 percent since April.

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