A shot of the Amazon headquarters in downtown Seattle. The online giant, which is said to be laying off hundreds of employees in Seattle and elsewhere, has more than 560,000 employees worldwide. (Photo courtesy of Amazon)
Seattle--Amazon confirmed this week it is laying off several hundred employees at its Seattle headquarters and hundreds more elsewhere in the United States.

In a statement emailed to National Jeweler on Wednesday, Amazon said: “As part of our annual planning process, we are making headcount adjustments across the company—small reductions in a couple of places and aggressive hiring in many others. For affected employees, we work to find roles in the areas where we are hiring.”

The company did not provide further details on the number of employees affected or the timing of the cuts but did say that the layoffs taking place outside of Seattle would be confined to the U.S.

Amazon also did not specify which areas of its business would be impacted, but a report published Monday by The Seattle Times speculated the layoffs would come primarily in Amazon’s consumer retail businesses, which include shoe seller Zappos, self-publishing company Createspace and Quidsi, which operates Diapers.com.

While hundreds of jobs does not amount to much for a company the size of Amazon—it has more than 560,000 employees worldwide—it is a rare move for a company that is expanding so rapidly.

The Times report indicated the layoffs are the result of Amazon being overstaffed and certain departments finding themselves over budget with too much staff for the amount of work that needs to be done. One engineer quoted anonymously by the Times said the company has a problem with “overpopulation” right now.

And while that might be true for some departments, Amazon still is hiring in other areas. The company has 3,900 jobs open in Seattle and 12,000 worldwide, and it created 130,000 jobs last year, not including those generated by its acquisition of Whole Foods, it said.

Amazon.com Inc. came in at No. 8 on National Jeweler’s 2017 $100 Million Supersellers list, a ranking of retailers that sell $100 million or more in jewelry and watches in North America in the course of a calendar year.

With an estimated $800 million in watch and jewelry sales in 2016, it finished behind Helzberg Diamonds and ahead of J.C. Penney.

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