Amazon powers ahead with physical grocery store rollout despite pandemic

Amazon is preparing to open four new physical grocery locations as its ambitions to establish a physical retail presence remain undeterred by the pandemic.

Amazon has earmarked four locations for both its high-tech cashierless Amazon Go grocery format and its as yet unnamed grocery store, which is understood to have conventional payment systems.

First reported in the Seattle Times, the two Go stores will be situated in Washington, while the other two grocery stores are set to open in California and Illinois.

Despite the sharp rise in demand for online grocery delivery during the pandemic, which analysts expect to last long after lockdown has ended, Amazon is pushing ahead with its ambitions to become a physical grocery player.

READ MORE: Amazon’s new grocery stores to feature hidden robotic “microfulfillment” areas for online orders

In February, just before the pandemic took hold outside of China, Amazon launched its first Go Grocery store spanning nearly five times the floorspace of its standard cashierless convenience stores.

Its new store will use the same technology as its convenience store counterparts but will now accommodate shopping carts and feature around 5000 goods, compared to the 500 to 700 stocked in the original format.

Meanwhile Amazon had announced plans to launch a separate physical grocery format using conventional checkout systems, but remaining separate from its Whole Foods brand.

While information on these stores is thin, it is understood they’ll include high-tech automated “microfulfillment” centres to streamline online-order picking.

According to leaked floor plans, around 20 per cent of the floor space will be a hidden small-scale version of the retail store where robots will work to fulfill up to 12 online orders per minute.

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