Amazon Fresh accelerates its expansion with five new stores

Amazon has kicked into high gear with the expansion of its Amazon Fresh supermarket chain, which more than doubled the number of stores a year ago.

This month, Amazon announced five new Amazon Fresh stores, three of which have opened. The additions come after the online retail giant said last month that it had started hiring for the first Amazon Fresh locations in New York and New Jersey.

Most recently, the company unveiled plans for three new Amazon Fresh stores in Northern Virginia. A 45,000 square foot store opened in Manassas on June 9 and a 38,000 square foot store in Lorton is scheduled to open June 23. Another Amazon Fresh is expected to open in Arlington “in the coming weeks,” Amazon says. The retailer didn’t give a size for the Arlington store, but said the three new Virginia locations would offer its Just Walk Out cashierless technology, which lets customers pay for their items without waiting at the checkout.

With the addition of new stores, 17 of Amazon Fresh’s 33 locations now offer Just Walk Out technology, while the remaining stores offer the Amazon Dash Cart “smart” shopping cart, which has similar functionality. (Photo courtesy of Amazon)

Also on June 9, Amazon launched a 40,000 square foot Amazon Fresh in North Riverside, Illinois, marking its eighth store in Illinois. The company opened its 15th California location under the banner — the state with the most Amazon Fresh outlets — on June 2, a 35,000-square-foot store in Huntington Beach. Both of these stores also offer the Just Walk Out feature.

The new locations, except for the Lorton and Arlington locations which have yet to open, expand the Amazon Fresh banner to 33 stores in six states and the District of Columbia. This is more than double the 14 locations Amazon Fresh had in mid-June 2021. Following California and Illinois in number of Amazon Fresh stores is Washington State (four locations); Virginia (three); and Maryland, Pennsylvania and DC to one each.

Seattle-based Amazon opened the first Amazon Fresh store, a 35,000 square foot location in Woodland Hills, Calif., in late August 2020, then less than two years later unveiled the banner’s 30th location, a store of 35,000 square feet. in Murrieta, California on May 5 of this year. In terms of new stores and additional square footage, property management and investment firm Jones Lang LaSalle ranked Amazon Fresh as the sixth-fastest-growing grocer in 2021, behind Aldi, Publix, Grocery Outlet, Giant Eagle and Sprouts Farmers Market.

Jeff Helbling, vice president of Amazon Fresh Stores, said Supermarket News in April, new Amazon Fresh locations this year were planned for California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington State and New Jersey, although he did not specify the number of units nor the opening calendar.

“We continue to invest and grow Amazon Fresh, building on our vision to expand our omnichannel offering, and also continue to innovate in the areas we know are important to customers – low prices, wide selection and convenience” , Helbling said.

In mid-May, Amazon unveiled plans for Amazon Fresh to enter the New York metropolitan market with upcoming stores in Paramus, NJ, and Oceanside, NY. details of the planned Oceanside and Paramus stores, but said both locations will offer Just Walk Out service.

In addition to being the Empire State’s first Amazon Fresh, the Oceanside store – which will occupy the space of a former Waldbaum supermarket – marks Amazon Fresh’s debut in the New York suburb of Long Island. . According to Newsday, two more Long Island Amazon Fresh stores are coming, in Plainview (a former Fairway Market store) and East Setauket (a former Waldbaum store). Wednesday, Newsday also reported that Amazon is considering a 38,000 square foot space in Glen Cove, where a King Kullen supermarket is set to close in late July.

The Amazon Fresh in Paramus, NJ, will also occupy a former Fairway Market site. In March 2020, Amazon acquired leases for Fairway’s Paramus and Woodland Park, NJ stores by auction as part of the latter chain’s bankruptcy.

The latest Amazon Fresh openings also now give Just Walk Out technology – which detects items taken or removed from shelves while keeping a running total of the purchase – the edge over the Amazon Dash multi-function smart shopping cart. Cart, which allows users to find items, track purchases and skip the queue. Currently, 17 Amazon Fresh stores offer Just Walk Out compared to 16 locations offering the Dash Cart. The first Amazon Fresh to get the Just Walk Out feature was a 25,000 square foot location in Bellevue, Washington, which opened last June. At the time, Amazon noted that the opening marked the debut of the Just Walk Out capability at a full-size grocery store.