Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe
Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe

Inside Amazon's Giant Warehouse That Makes Black Friday Palatable

Retailers know that taking orders they can’t deliver hurts their reputations, especially when Amazon.com—which now offers a one-hour delivery service to some Prime customers in the U.K.—is raising expectations ever higher. With more than 7,000 deals planned for this Black Friday, the e-tailing giant said the event may well be its biggest U.K. shopping day ever. Shoppers seem keen, too; researcher ICM Unlimited found 75 percent of British Black Friday bargain hunters plan to buy from Amazon. Take a tour of the online giant's fulfillment center in Hemel Hempstead, U.K. as they gear up for Black Friday. Photographs by Chris Ratcliffe for Bloomberg

Amazon has invested over £2 billion ($3 billion) in its U.K. operations to date and employs almost 8,000 employees across its U.K. fulfillment and customer service centers.

Amazon’s European operations consists of 29 fulfillment centers with a total footprint of almost 18 million square feet.

In the U.K. Amazon has eight fulfillment centers, totalling over 5 million square feet and over 4.3 million cubic feet of storage capacity.

 As many as one in 10 Britons who bought Christmas gifts last year did so on Black Friday.

A sea of stacked goods, ripe for picking, packing and posting.

The Hemel Hempstead fulfillment center is close to half a million square feet in size.

2,000 staff work at the site, just north of London.

Items travel a conveyor belt.

A Star Wars R2-D2 toy ready to be picked for dispatch.

An employee busy picking items for dispatch.

The packing station.

A festive sign hangs in the foyer at Amazon's Hemel Hempstead fulfillment center.