In yet another sign Amazon is taking over the world, it is reportedly looking to open dozens of grocery stores in major U.S. cities including San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia—and one in Los Angeles as early as the end of the year.
That’s according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited “people familiar with the matter.”
WSJ reports the ecommerce platform has signed leases for “at least two other locations,” which it plans to open in early 2020. The source said Amazon is also considering an acquisition strategy of “regional grocery chains with about a dozen stores under operation.” It could also look into shuttered locations like Kmarts.
The venture will be separate from Whole Foods, which Amazon acquired in 2017. The stores will offer more variety but be about half the size of an average supermarket. They will also be “heavily tilted to customer service and pickup,” the Journal’s source said.
The move is a clear sign the battle for control of the grocery industry is, frankly, bananas.
The onetime straightforward shopping experience has become infinitely more complicated in recent years as stores flirt with a slew of online, delivery and pickup options. However, as one analyst previously told Adweek, no one has figured out how to execute online grocery in particular at an accessible price point that still nets a profit.
In addition to competing options from Instacart and Jet.com, grocery shopping and delivery experiments to date include Kroger’s self-driving grocery-delivery pilot in Arizona with robotics company Nuro, retail giant Walmart’s trial with last-mile vehicle company Udelv in Arizona, Walmart and Waymo in Arizona, Walmart and Ford in Florida, delivery company Postmates’ autonomous robot in California, delivery company DoorDash’s partnership with self-driving car company Cruise in San Francisco, grocer Stop & Shop’s self-driving convenience stores in Boston, and Udelv’s deal to deliver driverless cargo vans to supermarkets in Oklahoma.
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