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Amazon Further Refines Brick-and-Mortar Strategy With Amazon Go Closures

Company says it remains committed to expanding the c-store banner
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
Amazon Go Grocery is Gone
Amazon will shutter eight of its Amazon Go convenience stores, located in New York City, Seattle and San Francisco.

Following a series of announcements regarding its brick-and-mortar grocery concepts, Amazon continues to refine its food retail strategy with the closure of eight Amazon Go convenience stores, according to reports. Two locations in Seattle, two in New York City and four in San Francisco will be shuttered.

The two downtown Seattle stores on the list had already been closed for some time, according to Amazon, while the other stores slated for closure will remain operational until April 1.

[Read: "How Are Amazon’s New Features Enhancing the Shopping Experience?"]

“Like any physical retailer, we periodically assess our portfolio of stores and make optimization decisions along the way,” Amazon said in a statement.

“We remain committed to the Amazon Go format, operate more than 20 Amazon Go stores across the U.S., and will continue to learn which locations and features resonate most with customers as we keep evolving our Amazon Go stores,” the statement continued.

An Amazon Go location opened last month in Puyallup, Wash., south of Seattle, and the company said it remains committed to opening more c-stores. 

Amazon is also refining plans for its Fresh banner. In an interview with the Financial Times last month, CEO Andy Jassy reported that the company’s foray into on-the-ground food retailing has been slowed by a series of external circumstances, but he maintained that Amazon still plans to go big on its brick-and-mortar grocery business. “Remember, a lot of these opened right in the heart of the pandemic, so we haven’t had a lot of normalcy,” he noted.

Whole Foods Market, meanwhile, continues to open locations, unveiling new stores in New York City and Bozeman, Mont., this year.

“For what I think is the very best organic physical-store experience and selection, we have Whole Foods, which is a very significant-sized business that’s continuing to grow,” Jassy said during Amazon’s fourth-quarter earnings call last month. “I really like the progress [that] business has made on profitability in the last year. ... It’s a good business for us in the grocery space."

Amazon Stores was one of the main teams affected by massive layoffs in January, which saw the elimination of 18,000 roles. In addition to an uncertain economy, Jassy said the other contributing factor in the layoffs was the rapid hiring Amazon conducted over the past several years to meet  increased demand during the pandemic.

Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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