The British high street could have an unusual saviour in the form of online giant Amazon UK, which is bolstering its attack on the grocery market with plans to open more than 260 Amazon Fresh convenience stores before the end of 2024, complete with cashierless, Just Walk Out technology.
According to internal documents seen by Business Insider, the company states: “In 2022, we assume a broader roll-out of two store launches per week by the end of year, targeting 60 total openings.
“In 2023 and 2024, we are planning 100 store launches per year, in line with more aggressive opening programmes achieved by convenience stores in the UK in the last five years, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Co-op have all exceeded 100 openings per year.”
Amazon is also reportedly looking to open stores in Germany, Spain and Italy next year.
The company recently hired Tesco veteran and current chief strategy and innovation director Tony Hoggett to run its physical stores. Hoggett, who has been with Tesco for over 30 years, joins in January 2022 as senior vice president of physical stores, reporting to global consumer CEO Dave Clark.
Amazon is gearing up to launch its seventh and eighth Amazon Fresh checkout-free stores in Holborn, central London and Chingford, north-east London. It already operates Just Walk Out tech stores in Camden, Ealing, Wembley Park, White City, Canary Wharf and Dalston.
Just Walk Out technology uses a combination of technologies to determine “who took what” from the store. When a shopper takes something off the shelf, it is added to their virtual cart. When the shopper puts the item back on the shelf, it comes out of their virtual cart. After they leave the store, they are only charged for the items they left the store with.
In the US, the online shopping giant has just opened a 35,000 sq ft store in Westmont, Illinois with Just Walk Out capability.
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