Amazon Fresh Retools Its Strategy Across the Pond

Retailer closing 3 checkout-free locations across metropolitan London
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
Amazon has been working over the past year to perfect its grocery strategy, especially in terms of its Fresh stores.

Amazon has permanently closed its checkout-free Fresh store in West London, as well as two others in Wandsworth and East Sheen as it works to assess its portfolio in the U.K. The West London location was Amazon’s first autonomous store in the U.K., and its first outside the United States.

Amazon asserts that it still plans to open new stores in the area.

"Like any physical retailer, we periodically assess our portfolio of stores and make optimisation decisions along the way,” the company said. "While we decided to close three Amazon Fresh stores, it doesn't mean we won't grow  this year, we will open new Amazon Fresh stores to better serve customers in the greater London area."

[Read more: "FTC Sues Amazon Over 'Manipulative’ Tactics Used for Prime Enrollment"]

Back in the United States, property companies in both Washington state and Pennsylvania filed lawsuits against Amazon in May for breach of contract as several of the company’s planned Amazon Fresh grocery stores remain unoccupied.

Boston-based CPT The Landing, which owns retail space that was slated to house an Amazon Fresh store in Renton, Wash., sued Amazon on May 15 for breach of contract after it backed out of the lease. Court documents show that Amazon said it was unable to get the necessary permits and approvals for the space, but The Landing asserts that the retailer made the move as part of its broader plan to re-evaluate its brick-and-mortar strategy.

Amazon has pulled out of two planned Fresh stores in the Detroit area. The company is looking to sublease a space in Madison Heights that was going to house a Fresh location and has also terminated a lease on a former Kroger store in Dearborn.

Amazon is additionally subleasing six sites that were intended to be built out into full-scale Amazon Fresh stores in the Minneapolis area.

Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named the company one of its Retailers of the Century.

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