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An Amazon warehouse. Photo: Grant Hindsley/AFP/Getty

Amazon has kicked off the holiday shopping season with an aggressive shot over the bow of its competitors — free shipping, including for non-Prime members.

Why it matters: After capturing half of all U.S. online holiday sales last year, Amazon is now plotting how it can lure even more customers in what's expected to be a $720 billion shopping bonanza this holiday season, per the National Retail Federation.

  • This is "yet another example of the steps retail heavyweights such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc. will take to continue to expand market share, and they will use every weapon in their arsenal to accomplish this," Moody's analyst Charlie O'Shea said in a note.
  • O'Shea tells Axios: "Amazon's primary advantage continues to be a profit-agnostic shareholder base, which allows it to invest in virtually any area, at almost any cost, with no negative impact on its share price. This is an advantage that no other retailer enjoys."

The details: Amazon will waive the $25 minimum purchase that its non-Prime members must meet for free shipping. The deal lasts through the busy season.

  • The move is an easy way to get new people to try Amazon as Prime membership growth slows, says James Thomson, a former Amazon executive who now consults for retailers that sell on its platform.

Go deeper: The decline of Black Friday

Go deeper

CPAC Republicans choose conservatism over constituents

Rep. Matt Gaetz. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

CPAC proved such a draw, conservative Republicans chose the conference over their constituents.

Why it matters: More than a dozen House Republicans voted by proxy on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in Washington so they could speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC. And Sen. Ted Cruz skipped an Air Force One flight as President Biden flew to Cruz's hometown of Houston to survey storm damage.

Border Democrat warns Biden about immigrant fallout

Henry Cuellar (right). Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images

A Democratic lawmaker representing a border district warned the Biden administration against easing up too much on unauthorized immigrants, citing their impact on his constituents, local hospitals and their potential to spread the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told Axios he supports President Biden. But the moderate said he sees the downsides of efforts to placate pro-immigrant groups, an effort that threatens to blow up on the administration.

3 hours ago - World

Iran rejects nuclear talks with U.S., for now

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at Iran/EU talks in 2015. Photo: Carlos Barria/POOL/AFP via Getty

A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that conditions are not ripe for informal nuclear talks between Iran, the U.S. and other world powers.

Why it matters: The Biden administration had proposed the talks as part of its efforts to negotiate a path back to the 2015 nuclear deal. The White House expressed disappointment with Iran's response, but said it remained willing to engage with Tehran.