Amazon is planning to open up to 3,000 cashier-free stores by 2021, report says

September 28, 2018 by Charisse Jones, Usa Today

Amazon, which has transformed the retail landscape, may be about to strike again.

The e-commerce giant is reportedly thinking about significantly multiplying its checkout-free concept Amazon Go, opening up to 3,000 new locations in the next three years, according to a report from Bloomberg citing people aware of the potential expansion.

The move could give Amazon an even stronger foothold in the $750 billion grocery market, which it dramatically shook up when it purchased Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion.

An Amazon spokesperson said the company doesn't "comment on rumors or speculation."

Amazon Go's first opened in Amazon's Seattle headquarters in 2016 and become open to the public in January of this year. Shoppers use their Amazon Go app to enter, and then instead of dealing with a cashier, cameras and sensors note what they buy. Their accounts are automatically charged for whatever products they carry out.

The company currently has three Amazon Go locations in Seattle and one in Chicago.

But now, the Bloomberg report says the expansion may be more extensive, with roughly 50 of those stores potentially welcoming customers next year, and hundreds more open for business by 2021.

The original Seattle location offered a hodgepodge of cold drinks, sweets and lunch foods that could be quickly grabbed and taken out. The selection also included dinner meal kits, frozen foods and even a small selection of wines and beers.

Depending on which store they visit, shoppers can find prepared meals for any time of the day, or grocery items including cheese, chocolates and bread.

That mix is more akin to what shoppers might find in convenience store chains like 7-Eleven. Still, the news of Amazon's potential plans seemed to briefly sour investors on larger grocery retailers like Kroger, which has the second largest share of the market after Walmart and saw a slight dip in its stock price before trading ended for the day.

Kroger shares rebounded after hours, with the share price up less than 1 percent to $28.90.

Explore further: Amazon considering opening 3,000 cashierless stores: Bloomberg

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