Amazon plans to launch a new chain of grocery stores with dozens of locations centered around major US cities later this year, reports The Wall Street Journal. These stores would be distinct from both the company’s existing Whole Foods chain and its cashier-less Go convenience stores. The goal, the WSJ reports, would be to better penetrate the traditional grocery market dominated by companies like Albertson’s, Kroger, Publix, and Walmart.
Amazon would reportedly use acquisitions of smaller grocery chains, with a dozen or so locations, to expand its grocery footprint, but it’s unclear whether the new stores would carry the Amazon name or a separate, new sub-brand. The WSJ reports that Amazon has already signed leases for locations in cities like Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle, where it has both existing Whole Foods and Amazon Go locations.
The goal would be to offer more mainstream items a customer can’t find at Whole Foods, which, while broadening its offerings, remains an upper-scale and organic-focused option with higher prices that make it less competitive with your standard grocery chain. It’s unclear right now whether this new brand of grocery store would use the Go stores’ cashier-less technology, but the report states that Amazon plans to heavily invest in customer service and pick-up capabilities to compete with similar services, as well as delivery offerings, from Walmart and others.