amazon prime day

Amazon is not so much a fierce competitor as it is a force of nature in commerce — and the proof is Prime Day, the pseudo-holiday the web giant invented to both celebrate itself and drum up business in the summer doldrums.

This year, Prime Day is extending to 30 hours, starting the evening of July 10 and lasting through the following day with new deals every five minutes. The day will offer hundreds of thousands of deals for Prime members across 13 countries, including the U.S., U.K., Spain, Mexico, Japan, Italy, India, Germany, France, China, Canada, Belgium and Austria.

Amazon started Prime Day in 2015 just ahead of its 20th anniversary and declared: “Step Aside Black Friday — Meet Prime Day.” The inspiration, however, is more likely Alibaba’s Singles’ Day in November, which last year generated $1 billion in sales in the first five minutes with a celebrity-fueled blitz.

Prime Day is not there yet, but estimates suggest the commercial holiday added at least $500 million to Amazon’s top line last year.

The day is seen as generally boosting sales across the industry and others have jumped in to take advantage, or at least blunt Amazon’s advance.

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. is again hosting its Penny Palooza sale to coincide with Prime Day and will be offering what a spokeswoman described as “an amazing selection of deals such as $5 boys and girls Arizona and Total Girl graphic Ts (regularly $16), $15 Stafford oxford dress shirts (regularly $40)…60 percent off Liz Claiborne as well as our entire stock of A.n.a dresses.”

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which is in the midst of an escalating battle for commercial supremacy with Amazon, did not immediately respond to a query on its plans, although last year it offered incentives to drum up business.

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