Amazon’s Bezos Knocking on Wood for a Record Holiday Season

Even though retailers are better prepared to go up against Amazon this holiday season than in years past, that isn’t stopping Amazon’s chief from being perpetually optimistic.

In an interview with Matt Lauer on the “Today” show this morning, Jeff Bezos said, “It will be a record season for us, knock on wood.”

Amazon is hiring 50,000 seasonal workers to help pick up the pace in its dozens of warehouses worldwide, which will be humming at full capacity with employees packing and shipping oodles of boxes to homes in time for Christmas.

This year, physical retailers have lined up a fairly broad defensive strategy against the online behemoth. Many retailers are promising to match online prices, or even taking it a step further by offering same-day shipping in some markets (which is a day faster than Amazon can usually offer).

Still, Bezos was upbeat about the company’s holiday prospects, and likely for good reason. Last year, Amazon’s revenue grew 35 percent in Q4 compared to the same period in 2010 — double the rate of the overall e-commerce market. “We’ve always been in a hyper-competitive industry. That’s a good thing. It’s good for customers, and it’s good for the companies who are forced to innovate,” he told Lauer. “We have to evolve, and we are providing better customer service today than we ever have.”

Bezos appeared on “Today” freshly named as Fortune’s 2012 Businessperson of the Year for his role as the “ultimate disrupter.” Here’s the interview, which is worth watching to hear Lauer botching the name of Amazon’s best-selling Kindle Paperwhite (a.k.a. the Paperweight):

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus