Amazon to open convenience stores in UK

Amazon

Amazon is opening convenience stores in the UK.

Amazon, which had record-breaking total revenue of US$88.9 billion in its second quarter, has agreed to open more than 10 checkout-free convenience stores, Amazon Go, in the UK and is in talks on 20 other sites, The Sunday Times reported.

There are 25 Amazon Go stores in the US, in cities such as Seattle, Chicago, New York City and San Francisco. The e-commerce business opened its first store in Seattle, Washington, in 2018.

The first checkout-free convenience store is expected to open in London before the end of the year.

amazon, amazon go
Amazon Go fresh produce checkout free store in New York City.

In the US, every Amazon Go shop has fresh food products and is completely cashier-less. Instead of checkout workers, the store keeps track of what you’re buying with a series of cameras.

Shoppers must first scan their unique barcode on their Amazon Go app to enter an Amazon Go store. Customers are then monitored by the cameras, which keep an eye on what they’re putting in their basket.

Unless you put an item back on the shelf, you’ll be charged for it – that means you may also find yourself picking up the bill if your friend asks you to hand them an item. Amazon Go has employees in the shop to assist customers and replenish stock.

Shoppers are then charged by the items they’re carrying as they leave the store – your account is billed. You receive an email receipt from the company detailing everything you purchased once you’ve finished your shop.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos warned investors at the end of April that they might want to take a seat and prepare for a possible loss in the second quarter, as Amazon planned to spend US $4 billion — all of its expected second quarter operating profit — on COVID 19-related expenses. The company projected a potential loss of US$1.5 billion for the second quarter.

However, Amazon clearly profiting from the coronavirus pandemic ended up breaking records for both its top and bottom lines.

The US$88 billion in sales were better than in any quarter in its history, beating out the last Christmas holiday season by US$1 billion and performing 40% better than the second quarter of 2019, when it recorded sales of US$63.4 billion. Its US$5.24 billion in net income is double that of the same quarter last year.

“This was another highly unusual quarter, and I couldn’t be more proud of and grateful to our employees around the globe,” Jeff Bezos said in a statement, accompanying the extraordinary quarterly result.

It was an unprecedented sales volume for a normally slow period, from April to June, said Amazon’s Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky during an earnings call with analysts. Much of the growth was driven by Prime members, he said. In addition, worldwide streaming hours doubled and online grocery sales tripled year-over-year, suggesting Amazon was well-positioned to benefit from the stay-at-home orders by state and local governments attempting to lower the coronavirus pandemic.

The record-breaking numbers saw Amazon stocks immediately rise 5% to US$3,204 per share, increasing Amazon’s market capitalisation by nearly US$1.6 trillion and putting the value of Bezos’ shares up another US$8 billion. Amazon shares are now trading at US$3,164.68.

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