Amazon will open two new Amazon Fresh grocery stores in the Seattle area, adding to its growing array of physical retail locations.
Amazon Fresh is the commerce behemoth’s take on a typical, price-conscious grocery store — and a signal that Amazon plans to increasingly compete with grocery chain giants including Kroger — the owner of Fred Meyer and QFC — Safeway and Walmart.
One store will open in Bellevue’s Factoria Mall, in the location of a former Safeway. The other will take the ground floor of Vulcan Real Estate’s under-construction multifamily complex at 23rd Avenue and Jackson Street in Seattle.
Although an Amazon spokesperson declined to specify when the stores would open, it’s likely to be soon: Amazon is already hiring for “hundreds” of positions at the new Fresh stores, said Roetta Greene Elton, Amazon Fresh district manager, in a statement. Job postings for openings at the stores indicate starting pay is $15.75 an hour.
Though Amazon Fresh stores lack the much-touted “just walk out” features that characterize Amazon Go stores — where an array of cameras track customers’ movements, tot up their carts and automatically bill their Amazon accounts when they leave — they’re still loaded with digital integrations. Sensor-equipped carts, for instance, link to shoppers’ Amazon accounts to tally purchases and bill customers later, allowing some shoppers to skip checkout lines.
And compared to Amazon-owned Whole Foods, where receipts can be wince-worthy, prices at Amazon Fresh stores target a wider swath of shoppers.
Amazon has expanded its physical retail presence during a pandemic that has hammered many brick-and-mortar storefronts. The first Amazon Fresh store opened in California last summer; there are now six such stores nationwide.
Locally, in addition to the new Fresh stores, Amazon has announced two new Amazon Go locations since the start of the pandemic. Its Washington state portfolio now contains 11 Whole Foods locations, seven Amazon Go convenience stores, two Amazon Go groceries, two bookstores and three Amazon 4-star stores featuring top-rated products from Amazon.com.
A previous version of this story incorrectly stated how many Amazon 4-star stores are in Washington. This story has been updated.