After more than a year in beta, Amazon has opened its cashier-free grocery store to the public
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Amazon plans to close eight of its Go stores, the company said Friday, a decision that coincides with a retreat into its physical footprint and broader cost-cutting efforts.
The company will close two Go stores in New York, two in Seattle and four in San Francisco. The stores will close on April 1, and Amazon has said it will work to help affected employees fill other roles at the company.
“Like any brick-and-mortar retailer, we periodically evaluate our store portfolio and make optimization decisions,” said Amazon spokeswoman Jessica Martin. “In this case, we have decided to close a small number of Amazon Go stores in Seattle, New York and San Francisco. We remain committed to the Amazon Go format, operating more than 20 Amazon Go stores across the U.S., and we will continue to learn which locations and features appeal most to customers as we continue to develop our Amazon Go stores.”
The news was previously reported by GeekWire.
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy is taking steps to cut costs in its grocery division and elsewhere as the company grapples with slowing sales and a worsening economic outlook. In January, the company said it would lay off 18,000 employees, and some of the cuts were felt in Amazon’s grocery business. It shed warehouse and brick-and-mortar retail space in recent months after a period of rapid expansion fueled by a surge in e-commerce spending during the pandemic.
Amazon executives previously confirmed that the company would close some Fresh supermarkets and Go stores following its fourth-quarter earnings results. Amazon is also temporarily pausing the expansion of its Fresh grocery chain until it can find a format that resonates with customers and “where we like the economics,” Jassi said during the earnings call.
Amazon has been determined to crack the grocery segment since launching its fresh produce delivery service in 2007. It made a historic splash when it bought upscale grocer Whole Foods Market in 2017 for $13.7 billion, Amazon’s largest acquisition in history.
The first Amazon Go store opened to the public in 2018 at the company’s headquarters in Seattle. Amazon is equipping stores with cameras and sensors that allow customers to buy products without waiting in line at the cashier. Last January, the company opened its first suburban Amazon Go location in Mill Creek, Washington, after focusing launches around urban areas to attract commuters during lunch breaks.
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