May 25, 2011, 1:13 PM

Amazon drives deeper into Europe with plans for a contact center in Scotland

Amazon, Europe’s leading e-retailer, expects to employ 900 workers at the facility in Edinburgh.

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Amazon.com Inc., the leading online retailer in Europe as it is in North America, has announced plans to open a customer service center in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The facility will employ 500 workers full-time and 400 in peak periods, and handle calls for Amazon.co.uk, the retailer’s U.K. e-commerce site that attracts the most visits among retail web sites in the United Kingdom, according to a recent study by U.K. trade group Interactive Media in Retail Group and web traffic measurement firm Experian Hitwise.

"As our business continues to grow and we move into new areas like grocery, sports and clothing, our customer services support needs to expand as well," says Allan Lyall, vice president of European operations and customer service at Amazon. "Edinburgh is an outstanding location, providing us with access to a highly skilled workforce who will help us to achieve the high standards of customer service that shoppers at Amazon.co.uk expect."

Scottish Development International, an organization partly funded by the Scottish government that promotes investment in Scotland, is providing a $2.9 million grant to help Amazon build the contact center, which is expected to open in August.

"When a world-leading company like Amazon chooses to invest in Scotland, it sends a message to the rest of the world that Scotland is a world-class destination," says Danny Cusick, president of the Americas for Scottish Development International. "Amazon's decision to invest in Scotland was due both to the availability of a high-quality workforce and the support from Scottish Development International. We're thrilled to have secured this additional investment in Scotland by Amazon and believe this is a true endorsement of Scotland's offering to international investors."

Amazon announced in January plans for its third fulfillment center in Scotland. Amazon already operates nine fulfillment centers in the U.K., France, Germany and Iceland; customer service centers in Cork, Ireland, and in Germany; and a research and development center in Great Britain, according to the Internet Retailer Top 300 Guide, which provides details on the 300 leading online retailers in Europe.

Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, which ranks the leading online retailers in North America by web sales.

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