Amazon’s plans for opening convenience stores piqued more interest this week with the news it is testing a new, high-tech retail concept, Amazon Go, which would sell prepared foods and grocery staples in Seattle. But after the Wall Street Journal said the e-commerce giant has ambitions to open at least 2,000 such stores across the U.S., the company uncharacteristically denounced the report.
“It’s absolutely not correct,” Amazon (AMZN) spokeswoman Pia Arthur told CNET. “We have no plans to open 2,000 of anything. Not even close. We are still learning.” Arthur also told CNET that it has no plans to build a large-scale, Safeway-like (SWY) grocery store, another claim made by the Journal.
The 1,800-square foot Amazon Go trial location store offers prepared foods—including fresh breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks—and will sell grocery staples like baked goods, bread, cheese, and milk. Amazon said its customers will find items from well-known brands (but declined to reveal which brands) plus items from artisanal merchants. Customers will also be able to pick up Amazon Meal Kits, the company’s Blue Apron-rival, which includes with all the ingredients one would need to make a meal for two in approximately 30 minutes.
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Amazon Go requires shoppers to scan their smartphones upon entering the store, and the company’s “just walk out” technology will detect when products are taken off shelves (or returned to shelves), tallying what is in virtual carts via smartphones. When a shopper is done shopping, he or she leaves the the store, and the company will charge the corresponding Amazon.com account.
This isn’t the first retail outlet from Amazon. The company operates a bookstore in Seattle, near its headquarters, and has disclosed plans for additional stores in San Diego, Chicago, Boston, and Portland.
However, earlier this year, a shopping mall CEO told media outlets that Amazon planned to open hundreds of bricks and mortar stores in malls across the U.S. and was forced to backtrack his statements. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos later said at a shareholder meeting the company plans to open more stores, but did not specify how many.