United Kingdom

Amazon giant plans chain of UK book shops and cashless convenience stores

Amazon is set to open up to 30 stores on UK high streets that won't have any checkouts.

The online retail giant has reportedly struck up a deal to open more than 10 Amazon Go convenience stores across the country with the first expected to open in London this year.

The Sunday Times paper reports Amazon is also in talks to open a further 20 more stores but that talks are still ongoing.

Amazon is reportedly in talks to open 30 Amazon Go stores in the UK (file photo of US store)

An Amazon Go store in Seattle, Washington, which opened in 2018 and was the first of its kind

Amazon will reportedly targeting transport hubs, so it can attract busy commuters who need to pick up items on the go.

The US-based company has yet to announce the plans but if they go ahead as reported, it would mark the first Amazon Go shops in the UK high street.

It works by using the same types of technologies found in self-driving cars which can detect when products are taken or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in your virtual cart.

Shoppers must scan their unique Amazon bar code on their phone to enter the store and sensor technology and cameras monitor the items picked up and taken out of the store. 

When you leave the store with your goods, your Amazon account is charged and you are sent a receipt via email.

Reports circulated earlier this year that Amazon was targeting a unit in Notting Hill for its first store putting it in direct competition with supermarket retailers Aldi and Lidl who regularly battle to win the price wars.

Tesco first tested a completely cashless store in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, back in 2018.

The store proved successful with the supermarket opening another self-service checkout-only branch in London last month.

Sainsbury's also launched a till-free grocery shop in 2019 - in its branch, customers paid using their smartphones.

Amazon opened its first Amazon Go store in Seattle, Washington, in 2018, and has other stores in San Francisco, Chicago and New York City.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezoz is the richest man in the world as the online retailer has flourished in the pandemic. He has an estimated net worth of $181 billion (file photo)

While there are no cashiers, Amazon does keep staff on hand on the shop floor to assist customers and replenish stock.

The news comes as Amazon continues to thrive during the global coronavirus pandemic.

It revealed last week that global sales rose 40 per cent to $88.9bn (£67.9bn) in the second quarter as housebound shoppers ordered online in droves. Profits doubled to $5.2bn. 

In a separate venture, Amazon is also reportedly holding talks with shopping-centre owners to take vacant units for bookstores or for 4-Star, a shop that sells anything from toys to kitchen utensils as long as they are rated 4 and above on Amazon's website. 

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