US: Amazon to open grocery stores post merger

Amid Amazon’s efforts to grow its reach in the food space, the eCommerce retailer is reportedly looking to launch grocery stores in multiple big U.S. cities. The company is reportedly aiming to open a location in Los Angeles as soon as the close of 2019, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Unnamed sources cited by the paper claim the retailer has inked leases for a minimum of two more locations, scheduled for the beginning of 2020. However, the report cautioned that the store openings are not guaranteed. The Journal also stated the grocer is in discussions to open shopping center locations in Chicago and Washington, DC, among other cities.

While it was not specified whether the stores would be branded with Amazon’s name, they will reportedly diverge from the company’s Whole Foods Market brand. The sources claim the retailer’s planned locations are not designed to be direct rivals with Whole Foods, and will offer a different, lower-priced selection of items.

Last year, Amazon was looking to expand its fleet of Whole Foods stores around the country, enabling more shoppers to use its fast delivery service. According to reports at the time, Whole Foods aims to have locations in more suburban areas. The retailer has been gaining customers since it was acquired by Amazon, but prior to the deal had been in layoff mode with slowing store growth.

At the same time, the report noted that if Amazon follows through with those plans, it would bring more competition to the supermarket space. Pentallect Co-founder Bob Goldin told The Wall Street Journal in December, “Strategic investments to improve Whole Foods will only increase the already intense competitiveness in the grocery space.”

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