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Amazon Pauses Plans for Michigan Fresh Stores

News follows similar move in Minneapolis area
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
Amazon Forecasts Modest 4th-Quarter Growth Amazon Fresh
Amazon Fresh is pulling back on planned stores in both the Detroit and Minneapolis areas.

As it works to retool its grocery strategy, Amazon is pulling out of two planned Fresh stores in the Detroit area. According to local reports, 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.

It was also reported that the retail company is subleasing six sites that were intended to be built out into full-scale Amazon Fresh stores in the Minneapolis area. The planned locations in communities across the Twin Cities didn’t reach completion, and although not officially confirmed by Amazon when under development, the storefronts at one point featured Amazon Fresh signage.

Amazon Fresh isn’t the only Amazon-owned grocery banner in flux. In April, Whole Foods Market began streamlining its operations. An internal memo obtained by media outlets including The Wall Street Journal and CNBC stated that the grocer is consolidating its regions from nine to six and cutting hundreds of corporate jobs.

“As the grocery industry continues to rapidly evolve, and as we — like all retailers — have navigated challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and continued economic uncertainty, it has become clear that we need to continue to build on these changes. With additional adjustments, we will be able to further simplify our operations, make processes easier and improve how we support our stores,” the memo noted.

The news about the multiple subleases and the Whole Foods restructuring comes after Amazon CEO Andy Jassy confirmed that the company is still pursuing a grocery business but taking the time to hone the concept for the most effective model. "We have a set of experiments and concepts that we are working on across the dozens of stores and are pretty optimistic that some may work and hopeful that over the next year we find that,” he said during the company’s quarterly earnings call in early May.

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. PG also named the company as one of its Retailers of the Century.

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