Amazon.com Inc. is stepping up a warehouse building spree, signaling the urgency of getting products to customers more quickly amid rising competition from EBay Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Consider Amazon’s center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which opened in 2011 after about 10 months, compared with as much as two years for older warehouses. Boasting more space and technology that makes it easier to find items, the building is part of Amazon’s almost $13.9 billion spending binge on fulfillment expenses -- including 50 new facilities -- since 2010. That’s more than the company spent on warehouses in its lifetime and brought the total to 89 at the end of 2012. Amazon has announced five more in the U.S. this year.