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Amazon Grocery Chain Inches Toward Reality: Report

E-commerce giant scouting sites on East Coast as L.A. work underway
Photograph courtesy of Amazon

More details about Amazon’s anticipated launch of a physical grocery chain—including indications that the Seattle tech giant was scouting store locations on the East Coast—emerged this week in a report by The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal, which indicated earlier this year that Amazon was scouting sites in Los Angeles for grocery stores, said the chain had “more than a dozen” leases signed around Los Angeles but was also looking at potential spaces around New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and had plans for stores in Chicago and Philadelphia. The report was based on confidential sources. Amazon has not acknowledged the reports.

Amazon’s pursuit of physical grocery stores would appear to acknowledge that the vast majority of food-at-home sales are still made at physical stores, and that locations near to where customers live and shop are an advantage in facilitating home delivery of food.

The developing grocery chain—which does not yet have a known banner identity, although some have referred to it as Prime Grocery—is believed to be distinct from the Whole Foods Market chain that Amazon acquired in 2017, marking its first foray into physical food retail.

Tom Furphy, a former Amazon executive and now CEO of Seattle’s Consumer Equity Partners, told an audience at a National Grocers Association event in February, that he expected the chain would “figure out what are the right formats for the right customers and the right geographies” for physical grocery stores.

The Journal report this week said local building permits indicated that Amazon was at work on a 35,000-square-foot store in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles that would include a substantial food prep kitchen. It is expected to be one of the first sites to open—as soon as the end of this year.

On the East Coast, Amazon is reportedly looking at 20,000-square-foot to 40,000-square-foot locations.

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