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Amazon Makes Major Push Into Furniture

Amazon.com Inc. wants to furnish your home. The online retail giant is making a major push into furniture and appliances, including building at least four massive warehouses focused on handling bulky items, according to people familiar with Amazon's plans.

With that move, the Seattle-based retailer is taking on two companies that dominate online furniture sales - Wayfair Inc. and Pottery Barn owner Williams-Sonoma Inc.Furniture is one of the fastest-growing segments of U.S. online retail, growing 18 percent in 2015, second only to groceries, according to Barclays. About 15 percent of the $70bn U.S. furniture market has moved online, researcher IBISWorld says.

But even the biggest players in online furniture are struggling to get the market right. Unlike established categories such as books and music or even apparel, retailers are still hammering out basic concepts like how much variety to offer on their sites and the most efficient ways to deliver couches and dining sets to customers’ homes.

While Amazon has been selling furniture for years, it has lately decided to tackle the sector more forcefully.

“Furniture is one of the fastest-growing retail categories here at Amazon,” Veenu Taneja, furniture general manager at Amazon, said in a statement. He said the company is expanding its selection of products, with offerings including Ashley Furniture sofas and Jonathan Adler home décor, and is adding custom-furniture design services. Amazon is also speeding up delivery to one or two days in some cities.

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