Amazon opens Britain’s first ‘4-star’ non-food store

Amazon on Wednesday expanded its chain of brick-and-mortar stores selling non-food items in Britain, opening a new outlet in south-east London that will compete with local stores.

The US conglomerate’s “4-star” store in Bluewater Shopping Center in Kent is stocked with items such as electronics, toys and books that have at least a 4-star rating from UK Amazon customers .

The online retail giant launched its first non-U.S. Amazon Fresh convenience store in London in March, where customers shop and simply go out, while a tracking system charges their purchases to their bank accounts.

The e-commerce company already has six such grocery stores in the UK and 32 in the US.

There is also an Amazon salon in central London, which allows customers to use immersive technology to try out different hair styles and colors before getting a cut.

Amazon was already heavily placed in Britain before the pandemic, with growing dominance in the delivery industry.

During the lockdown, it profited tremendously from the shutdown of non-essential retail businesses as well as fundamental changes in consumer buying habits.

The latest UK launch “will send a warning to the industry that the competition could become even fiercer,” said analyst Richard Lim, Retail Economics.

“Despite some challenges posed by supply chain disruptions and the impact of Brexit, Amazon has always played the long game,” he told AFP.

“A physical presence will provide loyal customers with a frictionless shopping path, giving them the ability to touch, feel, experience and pick up online orders in-store. “- AFP

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