Amazon.com Inc., the online retailer, has agreed to pay $10 million to help expand the business of low-priced floor lamps in a deal that would help the company make its furniture business more competitive.
The company said Monday that it would provide a loan of up to $10.3 million to the nonprofit group Lowes Vines, which builds floor mats and sells them through Amazon Prime memberships.
Lowes will receive about $1.5 million from Amazon’s new $200 billion lending program, Amazon said.
Lowes said it would use the money to invest in new technology that helps the company’s low-end products and expand its supply chain.
Amazon has been aggressively expanding its low-price products, with the company announcing plans to open a second-floor store in Seattle, which it will also use as a warehouse.
Lowell, which makes floor mats for more than 200 stores in the United States and Canada, said Monday it expects to sell more than 2.6 million floor mats this year.
Amazon is currently developing low-floor lamps for use in its own warehouses and other high-end facilities.
The company has already made an investment in a low-margin lighting business, but it has struggled to produce its lamps and its lighting costs have ballooned over the past several years.
Lowel’s lamp business, which employs about 1,000 people, has been hit hard by a combination of lower demand for lighting and a downturn in the U.S. economy.
The deal is Amazon’s largest lending to a low cost product company since 2009.
Lowels previous loan program for its lighting business totaled $2.4 million, and it is part of a larger effort by Amazon to help its business expand.
Amazon and Lowes were not immediately available for comment.
Amazon said it has secured a $5.5 billion line of credit from JPMorgan Chase & Co. to finance the new financing.
Amazon and Lowels have agreed to share a combined $7 billion of the line, which will be used to pay off existing loans, according to a statement.
Amazon will repay $5 million of the $7.5-billion line of financing in October, and Lowel will repay the remaining $2 billion of its $7-billion loan in December.
Amazon is also extending a $250 million credit facility that will pay interest on the loans until 2020.
Lowell, the nonprofit Lowes-backed lighting business with stores in New York and Los Angeles, said it hopes to expand to about 20,000 sq. ft. of floor space over the next two years.
It will also focus on its U.K. operations, with Lowels lighting unit in Birmingham, England, said to have about 1.5 lakh sq.ft. of potential floor space.
Amazon says it will create 10,000 jobs in the next year, and expects to hire more than 15,000 in the coming year.
Lowels, which began as a low price product manufacturer in the 1950s, said in a statement that it is in “the early stages of a sustainable business plan.”
The nonprofit organization is a member of the Global Light Initiative, a coalition of U.N. agencies to tackle climate change, which aims to cut carbon emissions by 40 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.