Amazon has been scouting London for prime central locations that could be used as Amazon Go convenience stores, according to the Sunday Times. The tech firm registered a UK trademark for the Amazon Go stores in December, suggesting it is advancing plans to bring futuristic convenience stores to Britain.
The company first revealed its intention to open grocery stores last December in a video for the service. It is currently testing its first Amazon Go with a trial store in Seattle.
The Seattle store is not yet open to the public and is only used by employees. The store is expected to open its doors to the public within the next few months. Devoid of tills and human employees, it uses sensors to track customers and record the items taken off the shelves. When the customer leaves the store, the bill is automatically charged to their Amazon account.
This is not the only brick-and-mortar structure Amazon has brought into local competition. The company first opened a physical bookstore in Seattle in 2015. Shops continued to pop up in San Diego and Portland. Another bookstore is slated to launch in New York City this spring.
The November 2015 of Amazon’s flagship bookstore alarmed many booksellers. James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones said he hoped the tech giant’s venture would “fall flat on its face.” Amazon Books’ website lists several more stores to come in different cities, including one in Chicago, Illinois, two in Massachusetts, and one in New Jersey.
Amazon Go’s physical presence in London will most likely alarm the big four supermarkets. Tesco and Sainsbury have already had their profit margins crushed by German discount chains Aldi and Lidl. Amazon’s June launch of fresh food deliveries in parts of London further escalated the assault on Britain’s supermarkets.