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Amazon plans grocery store expansion

13 October 2016 - 13:47 by Graham Miller

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E-commerce giant Amazon has dipped its toes into the world of bricks and mortar retail in recent years. This week an anonymous source told the Wall Street Journal that its next move will be more significant, with the firm apparently intending to open stores from which customers can pick up groceries they have ordered via safe shopping online.

The idea is that its growing Fresh service, which allows people to arrange for their weekly food shop to be delivered direct to their door, will be augmented by the rollout of physical stores from which consumable items such as bread and milk are available.

A spokesperson for the firm said that no comment would be passed on rumours of any kind about upcoming projects, including this one.

Insiders claim that the stores will be fully linked to Amazon’s site offering safe shopping online, encouraging people to place orders before they visit and make use of the outlets as a collection point.

In 2015, the first Amazon book shop opened in Seattle, the city where the company was founded and still has its global headquarters. But running a chain of stores that sell perishable products is a far more complicated undertaking and one which will require a lot of investment and effort to get right.

Amazon Fresh has been available in London for the past three years and has since arrived in other major cities in the UK. This suggests that if the firm does decide to open convenience stores to support it, British consumers will almost certainly be able to benefit from this in the long run.

For other retailers, the threat of Amazon encroaching on yet another part of the market will be a major problem, even if it currently lacks the infrastructure to take on the likes of Tesco.