Retailers

Is Amazon Fresh the Newest Competitor in Grocery?

E-commerce giant appears to have branded its brick-and-mortar chain
Photograph: Shutterstock

It seems Amazon has officially named its latest offspring—the highly anticipated chain of grocery stores that includes a location in Woodland Hills, Calif., currently a dark store. Amazon has filed a recent trademark for a new Amazon Fresh mark for its forthcoming grocery store, not to be mistaken with the legacy mark, which would suggest a new banner for the retailer. 

The plans were reported initially in the food business blog HNGRY. WGB reached out to Amazon for confirmation on both an opening date for the Woodland Hills location and the selection of a banner name. “We don’t have an opening date to share, all I can tell you is it’s opening this year,” an Amazon spokesperson told WGB via email.

As for confirmation on the newly named banner, “Amazon doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation,” Amazon added.

But according to Matt Newberg, founder of HNGRY, a media startup exploring the impact of technology on consumers’ relationship with food, public building and trademark records indicate that Amazon is preparing “to launch at least 15 new brick-and-mortar retail grocery stores in Southern California, New Jersey, Illinois and Pennsylvania under its Amazon Fresh brand, creating a digitally-integrated experience that is unprecedented for the industry.”

In an email exchange with WGB regarding Amazon’s Woodland Hills location, Newberg said he has independently confirmed that “Dematic is working with Amazon to provide robotic shuttling and storage systems that, combined with cold storage warehousing, comprise 20% of the total store footprint, completely hidden from plain sight. This will enable pickup/delivery grocery picking of room temperature items in 5 minutes,” he said. 

HNGRY reports that at least one other Amazon Fresh store in Irvine, Calif., has been rumored to feature similar technology.

“While Dematic is not able to discuss our relationship with Amazon, I can share some insights on how we are helping grocers to increase speed and efficiency on order fulfillment,Kristen Delphos, Dematic VP, head of marketing and communications, told WGB in an email interview.

“The global trend toward urbanization is leading to smaller store formats, and higher store counts for many grocers,” she continued. “This creates challenges in the supply chain as distribution centers will be required to send smaller, more frequent and mixed case orders to its urban stores. The cost of land and labor closer to urban centers is higher. All of these requirements lend themselves well to the use of automation.”

This is why the implementation of a coordinated network for central fulfillment centers, microfulfillment centers  and traditional large-scale distribution centers is the future of grocery, Delphos said.  

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