Amazon is to slash hundreds of roles at its headquarters in Seattle and a similar number in global operations.

Amazon aims to streamline its consumer retail business and hopes to offer affected staff new jobs, The Seattle Times reported.

Job cuts on such a scale are unusual at Amazon, but follow an increase in employee numbers in Seattle from 5,000 in 2010 to about 40,000 now.

Rapid growth over the past two years meant some units went over budget and some teams were overstaffed, Amazon employees told the newspaper.

Amazon had introduced recruitment freezes in recent months in various departments.

It told The Seattle Times: “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.”

Layoffs are expected to be completed in the next few weeks.

While making cutbacks, Amazon continues to hire. Its global workforce comprised 566,000 people last December, 66% up on the previous year, the etailer disclosed in its last quarterly earnings update earlier this month.

Counting only corporate roles outside Amazon’s warehouses, Amazon had 12,500 open jobs this week.

Amazon is also planning a second HQ where it expects to employ up to 50,000 staff.