Amazon to build new facilities in Australia as online demand surges: AFR

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics center in Lauwin-Planque, northern France, April 22, 2020 after Amazon extended the closure of its French warehouses until April 25 included, following dispute with unions over health protection measures amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Retail giant Amazon Inc AMZN.O is expanding its Australian operations with plans to build a warehouse in Sydney and is also scouting locations for a giant facility in Melbourne, the Australian Financial Review reported on Thursday.

An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment on ‘speculations or our future plans.’

In a separate stock exchange filing, Australia's Brickworks Ltd BKW.AX said it was in 'advanced discussions' with a customer for a warehouse development near Sydney through a 50-50 joint venture with industrial property giant Goodman Group GMG.AX.

Brickworks, which has an industrial property division, did not name the ‘major client.’

CEO Lindsay Partridge told Reuters in an interview Brickworks’ industrial property business has been doing well with rental receipts “still coming in strongly.”

"We have the Coles COL.AX warehouse which has been announced to build and we are in advanced discussion with another major client," he said.

When asked if he was referring to Amazon, Partridge said “that’s the speculation.”

Amazon’s reported expansion plans come on the back of surging online sales as consumers shift to e-tailing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just two weeks ago, Amazon had announced the opening of its first Queensland fulfilment centre in Brisbane later this year. The company currently has three fulfilment centres in Australia, based in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Reporting by Swati Pandey;Editing by Shri Navaratnam