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Industry buzzes about Amazon food stores

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SEATTLE — A top Amazon.com Inc. executive has characterized reports that the company will open brick-and-mortar food stores as “rumors and ­speculation.”

But chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said consumables were an integral Amazon offering, and that it was looking at new methods of getting products to consumers. Olsavsky acknowledged during an earnings conference call that the e-tailer was gratified by sales from its few brick-and-mortar bookstores, pop-up stores and pickup locations.

Saying he couldn’t comment on the reported food store rollout, Olsavsky added, “But what I will tell you is we have experimented with physical stores [and] we like what we see with that ­connection.”

Amazon “will try different delivery methods or pickup points or ways of getting product to customers, but [there is] nothing specific to point out on the grocery side right now,” he said.

One report late last month said internal company documents foresee up to 2,000 Amazon grocery stores following a 20-unit test in major markets.

Earlier in October, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon will debut small brick-and-mortar stores selling perishable items such as milk, meat and produce. Shoppers could use their mobile devices, or possibly touch screens in the stores, to order food such as cereal or peanut butter for same-day delivery, the newspaper said.

The company has confirmed an expansion of the AmazonFresh same-day grocery delivery service to Chicago and Dallas. The new markets add to the growing list of regions where AmazonFresh is available, including most recently, northern Virginia, Boston, Baltimore and London. AmazonFresh is also available in Seattle; New York; Philadelphia; Stamford, Conn.; Trenton, N.J.; and seven regions in California, from San Diego to Stockton.

With the service, customers can order items ranging from fruit, vegetables, meat, seafood, baked goods, and dairy products to beauty products and household goods.

“Whether they are busy with family, work, travel or something else, we believe all Prime members will enjoy the convenience and flexibility of AmazonFresh, in addition to the vast selection and low prices that the service offers,” said Ben Hartman, vice president of AmazonFresh.


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