Blog: Dean BestAmazon cools talk of plans for wave of grocery stores

Dean Best | 9 December 2016

An update on Amazon's plans for the grocery sector. The usually reticent retailer has this week poured cold water on claims it has plans for 2,000 physical grocery stores.

On Monday, the e-commerce giant unveiled Amazon Go, a 1,800 square feet store in Seattle, that caused a ripple throughout the industry for one, being the company's first move into bricks-and-mortar food retail and, two, being an outlet with tech at its centre.

The same day came a report from The Wall Street Journal that said  Amazon Go is one of at least three formats the retailer is studying. Two of the other formats are larger than Amazon Go, the WSJ said, citing unnamed sources. Two drive-through locations are set to open in Seattle, it reported.

In all, Amazon had a vision of opening more than 2,000 physical stores in the US, the WSJ said.

However, on Wednesday, Amazon, which usually makes public statements on its own terms, made the rare step of reacting to a report.

"We have no plans to open 2,000 of anything. Not even close. We are still learning," an Amazon spokesperson told CNBC.

For its part, the WSJ says it stands by its report.

Either way, it is clear Amazon is looking to beef up its presence in grocery and will be one of the most closely-watched businesses across consumer goods and retail for years to come.

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