Bezos offers update on groceries, drones
This undated image provided by Amazon.com shows the so-called Prime Air unmanned aircraft project that Amazon is working on in its research and development labs. Amazon says it will take years to advance the technology and for the Federal Aviation Administration to create the necessary rules and regulations, but CEO Jeff Bezos said Sunday Dec. 1, 2013, there's no reason Drones can't help get goods to customers in 30 minutes or less. (AP Photo/Amazon)
This undated image provided by Amazon.com shows the so-called Prime Air unmanned aircraft project that Amazon is working on in its research and development labs. Amazon says it will take years to advance the technology and for the Federal Aviation Administration to create the necessary rules and regulations, but CEO Jeff Bezos said Sunday Dec. 1, 2013, there's no reason drones can't help get goods to customers in 30 minutes or less. (AP Photo/Amazon)
INGLEWOOD, CA - JUNE 27: An Amazon Fresh truck arrives at a warehouse on June 27, 2013 in Inglewood, California. Amazon began groceries and fresh produce delivery on a trial basis to select Los Angeles neighberhoods free of charge for Amazon Prime members. AmazonFresh lets you order groceries and have them delivered on the same day. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR AMAZON â In this image distributed on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, Amazon.com Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos introduces the all-new Kindle Fire HDX 8.9'', right, and Kindle Fire HDX 7'' tablet in Seattle."
Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon, at the introduction of the new Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Paperwhite personal devices, in Santa Monica, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
A figure made of boxes holds a message to employees from Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos at the Amazon San Bernardino Fulfillment Center, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. in San Bernardino, Calif. The 1 million square-foot facility is the first of 40 planned facilities and the first of two in California. (AP Photo/David McNew)
TRACY, CA - JANUARY 20: Boxes move along a conveyor belt at an Amazon fulfillment center on January 20, 2015 in Tracy, California. Amazon officially opened its new 1.2 million square foot fulfillment center in Tracy, California that employs more than 1,500 full time workers as well as 3,000 Kiva robots that can fetch merchandise for workers and are capable of lifting up to 750 pounds. Amazon is currently using 15,000 of the robots spread over 10 fulfillment centers across the country. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NEW YORK (AP) -- CEO Jeff Bezos' annual letter to shareholders offers a glimpse into Amazon's internal workings and what it is aiming for in the future, including more grocery services and the much-discussed drone delivery.
In the letter released Thursday, Bezos outlined Amazon's offerings, including its fresh grocery business called Prime Fresh, which it has offered for five years in Seattle and expanded to Los Angeles and San Francisco. For $299 a year members get same-day and early morning delivery on groceries and other items ranging from toys to electronics and household goods. Bezos said the goal is to expand to more cities over time.
After making a hubbub about testing delivery by aerial drones in December, the company said its Prime Air team is testing fifth- and sixth-generation aerial vehicles and in the design phase on generations seven and eight. In December Bezos said Amazon was working on creating unmanned aircraft to deliver packages, but said it would take years to advance the technology and for the Federal Aviation Administration to create the necessary rules and regulations.
In a quirk, Bezos also said Amazon offers employees money to leave the company, a program called Pay to Quit, modeled after a similar program at Zappos. Once a year, the company offers $2,000 to quit, adding $1,000 a year, up to a maximum of $5,000.
"The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want," Bezos said. "In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don't want to be isn't healthy for the employee or the company."
Amazon.com Inc. has changed the consumer shopping landscape, transforming itself into the largest U.S. online retailer, selling books, gadgets and most everything else, usually at cheaper prices than its competitors. The Seattle company has long focused on spending the money it makes to add business and expand into new areas, from movie streaming to e-readers, grocery delivery and most recently a set-top streaming device called Fire TV.
Investors have largely forgiven thin profit margins and zeroed in on the company's solid revenue growth and long-term prospects. In its most recent quarter, the company said net income and revenue both grew but results fell short of expectations. Amazon's stock is down 17 percent from the beginning of the year.
Shares fell $14.79, or 4.5 percent to close at $317.01 amid a broader market sell-off. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day down 267 points or 1.6 percent.